With Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Nicolas Batum out, the contest in STAPLES Center between the LA Clippers and the red-hot Utah Jazz seemed like a formality.
But, the shorthanded Clippers gave them a fight and even held a 51-46 lead at halftime.
Underground GOAT heating up.@TeamLou23 with 14 points in the first half. pic.twitter.com/2Igl4jhYKF- LA Clippers (@LAClippers) February 18, 2021
However, the second half was a different story. The visitors outscored the hosts 68-45 in the second half, including a 27-10 run.
With the 114-96 win, the Jazz improve their league-best record to 24-5. They've now won nine straight and 20 of their last 21 games.
The Jazz are 24-5 this season - on pace for the 7th best record of all-time.- StatMuse (@statmuse) February 18, 2021
20 of their 24 wins have been double digits.
(Submitted by @TheHiveSports) pic.twitter.com/cPWt61zDnB
Next man up!
It's the same set of players but the Jazz are clearly not a one-man team. Through their recent hot stretch, almost every game it's a different player stepping up.
A couple of days earlier, against the Philadelphia 76ers, Jordan Clarkson was the spark with 40 points that helped the Jazz win. In the past week, Donovan Mitchell came up big against the Celtics and the Heat. Against the Bucks, Joe Ingles tied his career-high of 27.
In this one, Rudy Gobert led the way with a 23-point, 20-rebound double-double. He was one of five players in double figures as Donovan Mitchell put up 24 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, and four steals.
Rudy Gobert tonight:- StatMuse (@statmuse) February 18, 2021
It's his 4th career 20/20 game - only Karl Malone has more in the three-point era as a Jazz player. pic.twitter.com/mOKjc4G1dw
For the season, the Jazz have six players who average double-digit points and Royce O'Neal is an invaluable statsheet-stuffing who averages 7.9 points.
They are so well-balanced that they've won their last six games while missing Mike Conley, who was leading the league in +/- before he started missing games.
When will the Jazz lose?
The Jazz play the Clippers again in a couple of days. The availability of Leonard, George, and Batum is unclear right now but it will be safe to say that Utah will be favoured even if they return given the number of games the trio has missed.
The 13-15 Charlotte Hornets are next after that. Then, they host the Los Angeles Lakers, who will most certainly be without Anthony Davis. After which, they cap off the first-half schedule with a four-game road trip in Miami (losers of three straight), Orlando (11-18; losers of 8 of their last 11), New Orleans (12-16; losers of four of their last five), and Philadelphia (league-best 12-2 at home).
Barring a catastrophic off-night, this Jazz team are legitimately staring at just one loss, which would be in their final game against the 76ers. According to FiveThirtyEight, Utah is favoured in every one of these upcoming games.
If they do win all the games leading up to their last one in Philadelphia, the Jazz would have 15 straight and will have the opportunity to set a new franchise record for consecutive wins by defeating the 76ers.
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