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Gobert, Mitchell lead Jazz to big win over Clippers


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LOS ANGELES — Rudy Gobert didn’t even have to jump. He just stood on his two feet and spiked a ball out of the air for one of his four blocks on the night. That was about how easy it was for the Jazz Wednesday in Los Angeles.

Utah rolled to its fifth-straight win by beating the Clippers 129-109 at Staples Center.

And once again, it was the Jazz’s two stars leading the way. The Jazz have won seven of their last eight contests, and a couple things have been constant over that stretch: namely, Gobert and Donovan Mitchell.

Mitchell led the Jazz with 28 points on Wednesday and Gobert added 23 points and 22 rebounds. Both of those nights put the current Jazz stars in the history books with one Karl Malone.

Mitchell became the first Jazz player since Karl Malone in 1998 to score 25 or more points in seven-straight games. And Gobert became the first Utah player since Malone in 1988 to record back-to-back games with 20-plus rebounds. Gobert has had 47 rebounds over the last two games.

“The numbers the last two games are terrific numbers,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said of Gobert. “Even in the first half, when he wasn’t scoring as much, his presence for us offensively at the rim.”

Gobert had a dynamic defensive performance, as well. The Clippers entered Wednesday’s game leading the league in free throws, averaging over 28 per game. They got just 14 against the Jazz. Part of that was Utah defending smart. The bigger part was that the Clippers wanted no part in challenging Gobert at the rim.

“He (Gobert) does what he does,” Royce O’Neale said. “(He) gets stops on defense and gets blocks. Offensive, we reward getting him easy bucket dunks.”

And Mitchell did what he typically does, too. The Clippers pressured Mitchell early, and it took him some time to figure out how they were defending him. Once he did, it was once again a big offensive night for the second-year guard.

“Not try to force it and let the game come to me,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell scored 12 points in the third quarter to help Utah build a 16-point lead entering the fourth quarter. The Clippers would never get closer to 13 points.

“Tonight, we shot it really well,” Snyder said.

The Jazz shot 51.2 percent from the field, 33.3 percent from behind the arc and finished with a 124 offensive rating. Jae Crowder broke out of his recent shooting slump to score 23 points and Kyle Korver added 19 points on 4-for-5 3-point shooting.

The Jazz improved to 25-21 with the win.

Utah hasn’t controlled many games from start to finish as they did on Wednesday. Outside of a second-quarter run from the Clippers, Utah was in full control. Utah held Tobias Harris to 17 points on 6-for-14 shooting and Danilo Gallinari to 9 points on 3-of-14 shooting.

“Nothing is different (over the current winning streak),” Mitchell said. “We have just been more focused. We are locked in and ready to go. Even though we are shorthanded, everyone is stepping up.”

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