Griffin Drops 30 On Jazz; Underdog Magic Win Another

A season-high 30 points from Blake Griffin was the difference in the best game of the night. Down 14 points late in the third, the Clippers made a strong comeback. Mo Williams (20 PTS, 12 AST) had a big night for the Jazz against his former team and Randy Foye (19) was almost the hero in the dying seconds. After hitting a three with 1.2 seconds left and stealing the inbounds pass, Foye missed a potential game-winner at the buzzer. Although Chris Paul (14 PTS, 9 AST) had a relatively quiet night, Jamal Crawford (20 PTS, 4 AST) picked up the scoring slack. For the Jazz, it was their first home loss of the season. Al Jefferson (16 PTS, 10 REB, 5 AST) had a nice line against DeAndre Jordan (3 PTS) and Gordon Hayward (17) continues to be a productive sixth man. As expected, Marvin Williams (concussion) and Derrick Favors (foot) didn’t play.

Other December 3 Games

CLE @ DET: Already shorthanded, the Cavs had to play without Dion Waiters (ankle) and inserted Omri Casspi (10 PTS, 4 REB) into the starting five. Anderson Varejao was stellar again (17 PTS, 18 REB, 3 STL) but nobody else could find the basket. Greg Monroe (9 PTS, 14 REB, 5 AST, 2 STL, 2 BLK) was strong in the middle and the Pistons won with a balanced attack. Brandon Knight (17 PTS, 5 AST, 5 REB) and Kyle Singler (15 PTS, 6 REB) outplayed the makeshift Cleveland backcourt, Jason Maxiell (12 PTS, 6 REB) blocked five more shots and rookie Andre Drummond (7 PTS, 12 REB, 3 BLK) had a busy 19:31 off the bench.

POR @ CHA: Another huge effort fell just short for the Bobcats, who lost in overtime. Ben Gordon was on fire, hitting eight 3-pointers among his 29 points, and Kemba Walker (22 PTS, 7 AST, 5 REB, 3 STL) certainly held his own against Portland rookie sensation Damian Lillard (24 PTS, 9 AST, 3 REB). It took a remarkable comeback from 18 points down in the final quarter just for the Blazers to force the extra frame; LaMarcus Aldridge (25 PTS, 13 REB, 5 AST) led the way, with Nicolas Batum (17 PTS, 13 REB, 7 AST) another critical contributor. Wesley Matthews, playing with a painful thumb injury, added 19 and for once, the subs came through. J.J. Hickson was invisible in 12 minutes — no word of an injury — so Meyers Leonard and Joel Freeland combined to play 30 minutes off the bench. For Charlotte, Gerald Henderson returned after missing 13 games with a foot injury; he played just 15 minutes but will soon be up to speed. Though Jeffery Taylor (11 PTS in 26:49) may go back to the second unit, he has made a positive impression. Byron Mullens (12 PTS, 12 REB) grabbed his own long rebound and threw down a monster dunk over LMA in the best video highlight.

MIL @ NOH: Yesterday I called Ryan Anderson the MIH — Most Important Hornet — and he scored a team-high 22, but Robin Lopez (21 PTS in 23 minutes) was also outstanding in this ridiculously easy win and Greivis Vasquez (11 PTS, 9 AST) was solid. Milwaukee got 25 from Brandon Jennings, 17 from Monta Ellis and not much from anyone else. As usual, Larry Sanders (8 PTS, 7 REB, 7 BLK) was the best big man. Mike Dunleavy returned from a bruised knee with six points in a quiet 20 minutes; temporary starting SF Marquis Daniels (2 PTS in 16 minutes) is not the answer. Scott Skiles seems determined to mess up the mind of Ersan Ilyasova (2 PTS in 18:43) and it’s working.

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