SALT LAKE CITY — No Blake Griffin, Lamar Odom or Grant Hill.
Regardless of whether the preseason matters or not, the Utah Jazz took advantage of a Los Angeles Clippers team playing without a few of its key players in posting a 99-91 victory Saturday night at EnergySolutions Arena.
Guards: Former Clippers guard Mo Williams did not suit up against his former team in a 96-94 road loss earlier in the week, but he took advantage of the opportunity to shine against his former teammates with 10 points and eight assists Saturday. Considering the talent level of Clipper guard Chris Paul, the Utah backcourt contained the All-Star to 17 points and eight assists. Both Alec Burks and Randy Foye did a nice job off the bench. Burks picked up 10 points and Foye added five. Burks also had two key baskets down the stretch to maintain the lead. GRADE: B+
Forwards: Marvin Williams had his best game of the preseason in a Jazz uniform with 18 points and eight rebounds on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor and 3-of-4 from 3-point land. The overall rebounding was the greatest strength for the Jazz as they outrebounded the Clippers 50-35 and grabbed 18 offensive boards. Williams along with Paul Millsap played a solid defensive outing as they combined for seven steals (Williams 4, Millsap 3). The one glaring stat that is somewhat alarming with the forwards is the fact they let Matt Barnes score 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting. GRADE: A-
Centers: Al Jefferson and Enes Kanter held their own against the Clippers' bigs in the post as they picked up five rebounds apiece and held DeAndre Jordan to 13 points and nine rebounds. Nothing extremely eye-opening came out of the center position, but there was a confirmation that Kanter would be able to back up Jefferson and not be a liability on either side of the floor. GRADE: B+
Bench: The second unit played a brilliant game for the Jazz and quite frankly, the Jazz bench kept the team in the game for the first half. The bench played a big factor in the rebound and turnover margin as a whole and maintained the lead once again down the stretch. The depth of the Jazz has been a deciding factor in games and bench outscored the Clippers 36-30. DeMarre Carroll chipped in eight points on 4-of-8 shooting to go with three rebounds. Derrick Favors nearly pulled out a double-double with eight points and seven rebounds. GRADE: A
Overall: The Jazz took care of business against a team that was without some of its key players. They proved they will continue to be a fast-paced team and tough to score on. Despite the players the Clippers did not have in the line-up (Griffin, Odom and Hill), Los Angeles still had some talented players on the floor who truly played hard all night. With the preseason closing, Utah head coach Tyrone Corbin is tightening his rotation and the bench seems to be able to maintain a lead, which wasn't something the Jazz could always say last season. The starters all finished in double-digit scoring and it's always nice to see a balanced effort regardless of the opponent. GRADE: A-