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Paul scores 34, Clippers beat Jazz 111-106 to take 2-1 lead

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers sounded in awe of his point guard after watching Chris Paul beat the Utah Jazz with a fantastic fourth-quarter performance.

Paul scored a season-high 34 points and the Los Angeles Clippers rallied for a 111-106 victory Friday night to take a 2-1 lead in the first-round playoff series.

''He has an amazing will,'' Rivers said. ''He's just a tough guy. He's stubborn in a very, very positive way. All the great ones have that in them. They're stubborn like they aren't going to lose.

''And that's how he felt. And you could feel that. His energy and that kind of rubbed off on everybody on the team.''

The Jazz led most of the game before Paul took over in the fourth quarter and powered a 15-0 run that gave the Clippers a 103-96 lead with 2:09 remaining. Utah never led again.

The Clippers overcame a spectacular night from Gordon Hayward, who scored a career-high 40 points. But Paul simply dominated the fourth quarter, scoring nine straight himself during the run and getting wherever he wanted on the floor. He iced the game with a pair of free throws with 5.3 seconds remaining and finished with seven rebounds and 10 assists.

''I'm just always looking at the scoreboard trying to manage the game,'' Paul said. ''I was just trying to pick my spots. That's a good team over there. They stick to their principles.

''Me and (DeAndre Jordan) on the ball-screens just tried to keep getting creative and tried to figure out ways to make plays.''

Jordan had 17 points and 13 rebounds for the Clippers, who played without the injured Blake Griffin in the second half. Luc Mbah a Moute scored a career playoff-high 15 points.

''That's a difficult cover,'' Jazz coach Quin Snyder said of Paul. ''We put different guys on him and covered the pick-and-roll a few different ways. That's really all you can do is maybe try to give him some different looks because he's usually going to figure out if you're doing one thing - as you saw during the third quarter.

''You just keep trying to adjust as best as you can and compete. The hard thing for us is when we did get some stops, they got second shots.''

Joe Johnson tried to will the Jazz to victory in the fourth quarter after Hayward slowed down, finishing with 15 points off the bench. George Hill scored 26 thanks to a 13-point third quarter, then said the Jazz needed to win the next game.

''Yes, it's a must-win situation for us,'' he said. ''You never want to go down 3-1, especially going back to their home court.''

Griffin left the game with 3:18 remaining in the second quarter and did not return after landing awkwardly following a transition layup. The Clippers ruled it a bruised right big toe. The five-time All-Star had 11 points, six rebounds and two assists in 18 minutes.

Griffin had X-rays at the arena that were negative and the Clippers planned to re-evaluate him later Friday night.

''One of the biggest adjustments is we probably won't be able to play through the post so much,'' Paul said. ''He's such a dynamic player. We go to him in the post and we cut and move off him. ... He's our other assist guy.

''Just his leadership, it's just a different feeling when he's on the court.''

TIP-INS

Clippers: Austin Rivers missed his third game of the series due to a strained left hamstring. ... Paul passed Wilt Chamberlain to rank No. 30 on the NBA's career playoff assists list.

Jazz: Alec Burks sat out after getting a platelet rich plasma injection in his left knee on Thursday. ... Hill surpassed the 1,000 career playoff points plateau in the third quarter. ... Hayward's 21 first-quarter points was a franchise playoff record for any one quarter.

STILL OUT

Jazz center Rudy Gobert did not play again due to a hyperextended left knee and bone contusion suffered 17 seconds into the series opener. Derrick Favors started at center and Boris Diaw opened at power forward.

Snyder said he and Doc Rivers have talked about how both teams have been injury plagued this season.

''The bottom line is nobody will remember who is playing and who is not playing,'' Snyder said. ''They will just remember which team was able to win.''

QUOTABLE

''We lost, so none of that matters,'' Hayward said of the 40 points.

QUOTABLE, TOO

''I've had a man crush on him for three years now and he continues to be great,'' Rivers said of Hayward.

UP NEXT

The Jazz host the Clippers for Game 4 on Sunday.

Copyright 2017 by Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

Key Players
B. Griffin
32 PF
G. Hayward
20 SF
34.6 Min. Per Game 34.6
21.4 Pts. Per Game 21.4
3.5 Ast. Per Game 3.5
5.5 Reb. Per Game 5.5
48.9 Field Goal % 47.0
46.2 Three Point % 45.8
76.5 Free Throw % 85.2
+ 1 Chris Paul made 2nd of 2 free throws 0:01
+ 1 Chris Paul made 1st of 2 free throws 0:01
  Personal foul on Derrick Favors 0:01
  Bad pass turnover on Gordon Hayward 0:03
+ 1 JJ Redick made 2nd of 2 free throws 0:03
  Team rebound 0:03
  JJ Redick missed 1st of 2 free throws 0:03
  Personal foul on Boris Diaw 0:03
+ 1 Boris Diaw made 2nd of 2 free throws 0:05
  Team rebound 0:05
  Boris Diaw missed 1st of 2 free throws 0:05
Team Stats
Points 111 106
Field Goals 41-75 (54.7%) 36-69 (52.2%)
3-Pointers 7-19 (36.8%) 14-34 (41.2%)
Free Throws 22-33 (66.7%) 20-29 (69.0%)
Total Rebounds 50 37
Offensive 9 3
Defensive 32 24
Team 9 10
Assists 16 16
Steals 8 5
Blocks 3 2
Turnovers 8 11
Fouls 20 26
Technicals 0 1
away team logo
C. Paul PG 3
34 PTS, 7 REB, 10 AST
home team logo
G. Hayward SF 20
40 PTS, 8 REB, 4 AST
1234T
away team logo4 Clippers 2-1 21283329111
home team logo5 Jazz 1-234242622106
Team Stats
away team logoClippers 2-1 97.7 PPG 37.7 RPG 18.4 APG
home team logoJazz 1-2 97.8 PPG 39.1 RPG 19.7 APG
Key Players
C. Paul PG PPG RPG APG FG%
G. Hayward SF PPG RPG APG FG%
Top Scorers
C. Paul PG 34 PTS 7 REB 10 AST
G. Hayward SF 40 PTS 8 REB 4 AST
54.7 FG% 52.2
36.8 3PT FG% 41.2
66.7 FT% 69.0
Clippers
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
C. Paul 36 34 7 10 2 0 2 3 12/22 2/5 8/8 1 6 61 +7
D. Jordan 38 17 13 1 0 1 4 5 5/7 0/0 7/14 4 9 29 -6
L. Mbah a Moute 36 15 6 1 1 1 0 3 6/9 1/2 2/4 3 3 25 +2
B. Griffin 18 11 6 2 1 0 0 0 5/9 1/1 0/0 1 5 22 +6
J. Redick 27 8 3 0 0 0 1 4 2/5 1/3 3/4 0 3 10 +3
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
C. Paul 36 34 7 10 2 0 2 3 12/22 2/5 8/8 1 6 61 +7
D. Jordan 38 17 13 1 0 1 4 5 5/7 0/0 7/14 4 9 29 -6
L. Mbah a Moute 36 15 6 1 1 1 0 3 6/9 1/2 2/4 3 3 25 +2
B. Griffin 18 11 6 2 1 0 0 0 5/9 1/1 0/0 1 5 22 +6
J. Redick 27 8 3 0 0 0 1 4 2/5 1/3 3/4 0 3 10 +3
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
J. Crawford 26 9 0 1 2 0 1 0 4/10 0/2 1/1 0 0 12 +8
R. Felton 14 9 0 1 0 0 0 1 4/6 1/1 0/0 0 0 11 0
M. Speights 18 8 2 0 1 1 0 2 3/6 1/4 1/2 0 2 12 +12
W. Johnson 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 1 -3
P. Pierce 20 0 3 0 1 0 0 1 0/1 0/1 0/0 0 3 4 -4
A. Rivers - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
B. Johnson - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Stone - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
B. Bass - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Anderson - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 236 111 41 16 8 3 8 20 41/75 7/19 22/33 9 32 187 +25
Jazz
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
G. Hayward 42 40 8 4 0 2 5 4 13/21 4/8 10/11 0 8 53 -5
G. Hill 36 26 4 3 1 0 0 5 9/15 4/6 4/6 1 3 37 -3
J. Ingles 33 9 3 5 1 0 1 4 3/8 3/8 0/1 0 3 22 -5
B. Diaw 23 3 1 1 2 0 3 2 0/1 0/1 3/4 0 1 5 +3
D. Favors 38 2 6 2 1 0 1 5 1/3 0/0 0/2 1 5 12 -17
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
G. Hayward 42 40 8 4 0 2 5 4 13/21 4/8 10/11 0 8 53 -5
G. Hill 36 26 4 3 1 0 0 5 9/15 4/6 4/6 1 3 37 -3
J. Ingles 33 9 3 5 1 0 1 4 3/8 3/8 0/1 0 3 22 -5
B. Diaw 23 3 1 1 2 0 3 2 0/1 0/1 3/4 0 1 5 +3
D. Favors 38 2 6 2 1 0 1 5 1/3 0/0 0/2 1 5 12 -17
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
J. Johnson 33 15 2 1 0 0 1 5 6/13 1/6 2/2 1 1 18 +3
R. Hood 20 6 0 0 0 0 0 1 2/4 1/3 1/3 0 0 6 0
R. Neto 3 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 2/2 1/1 0/0 0 0 5 +3
S. Mack 8 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0/2 0/1 0/0 0 3 3 -4
A. Burks - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Bolomboy - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
R. Gobert - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Withey - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Exum - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Lyles - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 236 106 27 16 5 2 11 26 36/69 14/34 20/29 3 24 161 -25