James Harden’s triple-double powers Clippers to dominant victory over Jazz

Clippers center Daniel Theis hangs from the rim after dunking over Utah's Talen-Horton Tucker.
Clippers center Daniel Theis hangs from the rim after dunking over Utah’s Talen-Horton Tucker during the first half of the Clippers’ 131-102 win over the Utah Jazz at Arena on Friday night.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Friday night’s game against the Utah Jazz was always going to be about how the Clippers performed in all facets.

It was about the Clippers playing the right way and at a high level. It was about the Clippers not looking at the woeful record of their opponent and thinking it was automatically going to be an easy night.

The Clippers took care of business from the start, building a 38-point lead after the first 24 minutes, their offense and defense on point in a 131-102 win over the Jazz at Arena that featured eight Clippers scoring in double figures.


Paul George finishes with 28 points as the Clippers overcome a 36-point effort from Nikola Jokic to edge the Denver Nuggets 102-100 without Kawhi Leonard.

April 4, 2024

Clippers coach Tyronn Lue praised the approach to the start of the game after the team made its first eight shots from the field, including four from three-point range, to open a 41-16 lead by the end of the first quarter.

“I thought just having the right mindset, understanding what we had at stake and just trying to get some rest throughout the course of the game,” Lue said. “[Paul George] only playing 21 minutes. But just our mindset defensively and offensively — we were sharing the basketball, attacking the paint, making the right play. But the biggest thing for me was our mindset to start the game.”

The Clippers (49-28), who have won five of six, are trending in the right direction with five games left in the regular season.

I thought we just took care of business,” said George, who scored 14 points on five-for-nine shooting. “We didn’t play around. We came out and just had force from the beginning of the game.”

Clippers guard Terance Mann scores between Utah's Taylor Hendricks, left, and Brice Sensabaugh in the first half Friday.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

The Clippers didn’t suffer a letdown after defeating the defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets on Thursday night.


“Having a good game yesterday against the champs, coming back today and validating that,” Lue said. “That’s what we talked about, just validating a win from last night and I give our guys credit. They did a good job.”

James Harden had his third triple-double of the season, finishing with 13 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds. It’s the most triple-doubles by a Clipper since Lamar Odom had four during the 2000-01 season.

Ivica Zubac produced a double-double with 12 points, on five-for-six shooting, and 10 rebounds.

Terance Mann also was efficient, scoring 19 points on eight-for-nine shooting. Norman Powell had 18 points and broke the franchise record for most three-pointers off the bench in a season with 153. Russell Westbrook had 17 points, five rebounds and four assists.

“I liked our start,” Zubac said. “We took the game serious. We knew second night of a back-to-back. They got a lot of guys missing. They’re going to have guys playing hard. But from the jump, we set the tone physically. Defensively, they had a hard time scoring in that first quarter and I just liked the way we played. That third quarter was a little whatever. We relaxed a little bit. But we took care of business.”

Talen Horton-Tucker led the Jazz (29-48) with 17 points and Omer Yurtseven had 12 points and seven rebounds.


Injury update

Kawhi Leonard did not play against the Jazz because of inflammation in his right knee. He has sat out three consecutive games, but Lue said Leonard was improving.

“Just day-to-day,” Lue said. “He’s progressing. He’s feeling better.”