Doc Rivers had no major regrets over his substitution pattern this time. Blake Griffin made sure of it.
The Clippers power forward played the entire fourth quarter Monday night at Staples Center and made the plays his team needed at a time it was far from its best.
Griffin scored 12 of his 24 points in the quarter, including eight of the Clippers' final 11 points in a 101-97 victory over the Utah Jazz.
Griffin made four of six shots over the final 12 minutes to help the Clippers stretch their winning streak over the Jazz to 12 games, their longest against any opponent in franchise history.
"He was huge tonight," said Clippers point guard Chris Paul, who had 20 points, eight assists and five rebounds. "He made some big shots, some big rebounds. He had some tough calls go against him and it shows the growth in Blake and our team that he didn't let it bother him."
Griffin did get called for an unsportsmanlike technical foul with less than five minutes left when he complained about being penalized for goaltending on a play in which he grabbed the net on an otherwise clean block of a Rudy Gobert layup. He was also incredulous after being called for a foul when it appeared he got all ball while defending Derrick Favors with 31 seconds left and the Clippers leading 99-96.
"I thought I got robbed on a couple of blocks," Griffin said.
Favors missed both free throws and the Clippers made enough free throws to hold on.
Rivers had openly questioned his own substitution patterns from the Clippers' previous game, a home loss to Toronto on Saturday, saying he wished he had rested his starters more freely early in the game so that they would have been available late.
Griffin came out earlier in the first quarter Monday but didn't get much rest the rest of the game, playing 41 minutes. He hardly looked weary while making 10 of 20 shots and collecting seven assists, six rebounds, three blocks and two steals. He also helped the Clippers outscore the Jazz, 44-18, in the paint.
"I'm all right," Griffin said, "but the true test is tomorrow morning waking up."
Clippers center DeAndre Jordan finished with 19 rebounds and four blocks, his 10th game this month with at least 15 rebounds. He leads the NBA in that statistic.
Clippers reserve forward-center Spencer Hawes returned from the bone bruise in his left knee that had sidelined him the previous nine games but made a minimal impact, compiling two points, three rebounds, two assists and one block in 12 minutes.
Reserve guard Jamal Crawford (17 points) made two three-pointers to tie Peja Stojakovic for ninth place on the NBA's all-time list with 1,760.
Shooting guard J.J. Redick (17 points) offered an impromptu State of the Clippers address at the morning shoot-around, saying the team was in a good spot despite some worrisome recent trends.
A stretch in which the Clippers had lost three of four games entering Monday? Redick noted the team would equal its record from last season at this point — 21-11 — with a victory over the Jazz.
Defensive slippage? Redick pointed out that the Clippers didn't tighten up on that end of the court until January last season and finished as one of the NBA's top 10 teams in defensive efficiency.
An uneven start to the season despite high expectations? Redick recalled being on an Orlando Magic team that started 26-15 the season after going to the Finals before winning 33 of its next 41 games and sweeping through the first two rounds of the playoffs.
"At some point we clicked, at some point it just all kind of came together," Redick said. "I expect that to happen to this team. We have the right talent, we have the right people, we have the right coaching staff, we have the right system. At some point I'm betting that we're going to click and things are going to look good."