Tom Chambers, who returned home to Utah two seasons ago to finish his career, passed a major milestone against the team that drafted him.
On Saturday night, Chambers became the 20th player in NBA history to surpass the 20,000-point mark, scoring 15 points in the Jazz’s 105-83 victory over the Clippers.
Chambers, in his 14th season after being drafted by the San Diego Clippers out of the University of Utah in 1981, took a pass from John Stockton, drove the left baseline and scored on a layup with 6:46 left in the second quarter to reach the milestone.
“I wanted to get it when it was significant and could help the team win,” said Chambers, a 35-year-old native of Ogden, Utah. “I wanted to help the team win, and it was nice to get it over with at home.”
Karl Malone had 21 points and 17 rebounds for the Jazz, who won their third in a row and fourth in five games. The victory pulled them within 1 1/2 games of idle San Antonio in the race for the best record in the Western Conference.
The Jazz became the first NBA club to have two players reach the 20,000-point plateau in one season. Malone did it on Jan. 20.
Eric Piatkowski and Terry Dehere led the Clippers with 13 points each.
“Thank goodness I’m not with them anymore,” said Chambers, who played two seasons with the Clippers. “I feel for them. I remember in my first season, finally winning our 17th game in the last game of the year. I know what they are going through.”
The Clippers, who beat the Jazz, 116-98, at home on April 1, shot only 35% and trailed by as many as 38 points at the Delta Center.
Stockton scored 11 points and had 13 assists in 23 minutes.
Chambers scored nine points in a 24-9 run by the Jazz that put them ahead, 53-30, with 53.1 seconds left in the first half.
Utah then outscored the Clippers, 23-7, in the first 8:22 of the second half to take its largest lead of the game, 77-39, with 3:38 left in the third period.
Malone had 10 points in the run, 12 in the third quarter along with six rebounds.
“We came out and played hard right from the start,” Malone said. “You want to get the job done so you can get some rest. The main thing now is to take care of the little, nagging injuries, make it down the stretch and see what happens.”
The Clippers cut the deficit to 95-80 with 3:47 left in the fourth quarter when Utah’s starters had long since retired for the night.
“Give Utah credit. They jumped on us and didn’t let us up this time,” Clipper Coach Bill Fitch said.
“It was a great warm-up game for them. There’s the difference between one team getting ready for the playoffs and the other getting ready to go home.”