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Paul George, Clippers rally from 25 down to top Jazz

Mar 29, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA;   Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) blocks a shot by Los Angeles Clippers guard Reggie Jackson (1) in the first half of the game at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Paul George recorded 34 points, six assists and four steals in his first game in over three months and the Los Angeles Clippers overcame a 25-point deficit to post a 121-115 victory over the visiting Utah Jazz on Tuesday night.

George made 6 of 9 3-point attempts and played 31 minutes in his first action since Dec. 22; he had been out with an elbow injury. Reggie Jackson scored 21 points, Luke Kennard added 17 and Isaiah Hartenstein contributed 14 points, seven rebounds and six assists for Los Angeles.

The Clippers (37-39) finished the game on a 34-12 surge to halt a five-game losing streak.

Donovan Mitchell had 33 points and six assists and Rudy Gobert grabbed 16 rebounds as Utah lost its fifth straight contest. Mike Conley scored 19 points, Jordan Clarkson added 17, Juancho Hernangomez tallied 13 and Rudy Gay added 11 for the Jazz.

Utah (45-31) fell two games behind the fourth-place Dallas Mavericks in the battle for homecourt advantage in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. The Jazz are tied for fifth with the Denver Nuggets.

Kennard hit the go-ahead 3-point to give Los Angeles a 117-115 edge with 1:06 left and Jackson made three free throws in the final 14.9 seconds to help the Clippers seal it.

Utah shot 55.1 percent, including 12 of 31 from 3-point range. The Jazz led by 16 with 9:09 left before Los Angeles dominated the rest of the contest.

The Clippers connected on 49.4 percent of their shots and were 15 of 36 from behind the arc.

George drained a trey with 5:37 left to start a 13-0 run as Los Angeles made its late-game charge. Jackson and Hartenstein added baskets to pull the Clippers within 109-106 with 4:28 to play, and Jackson scored another basket to make it a one-point game.

Hartenstein’s basket with 3:24 left gave Los Angeles its first lead, 110-109. He added another basket to cap the run and make it a three-point margin with 2:48 remaining.

Mitchell and Clarkson responded with baskets to put Utah back ahead, 113-112, with 1:56 left; but the Clippers maintained their momentum to win for just the third time in their past 11 games.

The Jazz led 61-48 at halftime and opened the third quarter with a 15-3 burst, taking a 76-51 lead on Gobert’s dunk with 8:07 left.

But George scored 20 points in the quarter as Los Angeles worked on narrowing the gap. George scored 10 points during a period-ending 12-4 burst as the Clippers trailed 94-82 entering the final stanza.

–Field Level Media