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Clippers Sink to New Depths

From Associated Press

The Clippers couldn’t shoot straight, and even when they did Andrei Kirilenko was there to block it.

Kirilenko had 17 points and six blocked shots as the Utah Jazz held the Clippers to the lowest field-goal percentage in franchise history in an 88-73 victory Saturday night at Salt Lake City.

Even though the Clippers made 10 of 21 from the field in the fourth quarter during garbage time, they finished 21 of 80 overall for 26.3%. The previous franchise low was 26.8% against Houston on Feb. 28, 2000.

“We played pretty good defense. We made sure they didn’t get too many easy shots,” Kirilenko said.

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Matt Harpring scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and Karl Malone added 13 points as the Jazz won their third in a row.

“There was no rhythm in this game. The key is that we didn’t let them get going and make a comeback,” Harpring said.

Corey Maggette led the Clippers with 13 points and Wang ZhiZhi followed his career-high 21 points on Wednesday with 12 points in his first start at center.

In the last meeting between the teams, the Clippers ended a 26-game losing streak in Utah that dated to April 18, 1989. The Jazz made certain it wouldn’t happen again by leading the entire way and pushing its lead to as many as 31 points.

“There were spells where we did what we needed to get the 30-point lead. We took advantage of the situation,” John Stockton said of his team’s 58-28 advantage when he sat for good with 6 minutes 24 seconds left in the third quarter.

Stockton played only 22 minutes but still had 12 assists and nine points.

The Clippers looked uninterested and played selfishly, getting only three assists in the first three quarters. They finished with 10.

“That was just a bad game. I would have been [upset] if the game had been closer and we played like that,” Clipper Coach Dennis Johnson said.

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With the win, Utah moved past the Lakers by one-half game for sixth place in the Western Conference.

“When we execute like that we can be a pretty good team,” Stockton said.

Meanwhile, the Clippers have rarely looked worse.

“I’m trying to teach them as much as I can but I still haven’t had practice time yet,” Johnson said. “But I will not let them play bad. I will not let them quit.”

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