Eric Gordon played classic textbook defense on Deron Williams the first time, at the end of regulation.
Who knows what would have happened if he had gotten another chance at the end of the second overtime.
The Clippers’ Gordon was on the bench by then, having suffered a stinger in his left shoulder, which felt even worse than the first time he hurt it, long ago in regulation.
Williams ended a tie with 6.8 seconds remaining in the second overtime on a driving layup, giving the Utah Jazz a 109-107 victory over the Clippers on Saturday night at EnergySolutions Arena. The Clippers led by as many as 18 points in the first half and were trying to win their first game in Salt Lake City in more than seven years.
They have lost their last 15 games here, dating to Jan. 22, 2003.
“I just wanted to win,” Gordon said. “We haven’t won here in a while. It’s just time to get better and step up a little bit.
“Guys played well. We just had too many letdowns. I can guarantee if we played like that against other teams, we will win.”
Gordon said he felt some pain going down the arm the first time he went down hard on the shoulder.
“Right now, the shoulder is just a little weak. It should be fine for the next game [Tuesday]. We’ll see,” he said. “It’s probably going to stiffen up and tighten up the next game.”
The Jazz simply could not put the Clippers away until the wizardry of Williams came through one more time. He had 30 points and seven assists in nearly 54 minutes.
“I’m glad it’s over. It’s tough, man,” Williams said. “It’s a tough game. I’m going to feel [the minutes] tomorrow.”
The game seemed destined to head to a third overtime after the Clippers’ Rasual Butler made two three-point baskets — his first of the game — in the second overtime period. But Williams made his winning shot and the Clippers had one more crack at it, but Craig Smith’s shot glanced off the rim.
“We didn’t kick in until late in the third and we kind of just hung around,” said the Clippers’ Chris Kaman, who had 23 points and seven rebounds. “Two OTs and Eric got hurt. … Craig had a pretty decent look for a last-second shot.”
That wouldn’t have happened without Gordon’s star turn at the end of regulation.
For him, it all came together in the last 12 seconds.
(The Clippers again hurt themselves with a rash of turnovers, committing 22 heading into the second overtime.)
With the Clippers trailing by two points with 12 seconds left, Gordon rolled around the high screen, went hard into the lane and threw down an emphatic right-handed dunk.
That was the first course.
His second was equally impressive, a brilliant display of textbook defense on Williams in the final 6.2 seconds, hounding him with pressure and forcing him to miss at the buzzer.
With Blake Griffin fouling out and Kaman in foul trouble, Gordon kept the Clippers alive in the fourth quarter, scoring 14 of his 27 points.
Griffin had his second double-double in as many nights, finishing with 16 points and 17 rebounds.