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A Switch for Clippers: the Other Guys Fold

March 26, 1987|CHRIS BAKER | Times Staff Writer

Forward Karl Malone of the Utah Jazz started fast against the Clippers Wednesday night.

Malone scored 20 points in the first half, hitting 10 of 11 shots, as the Jazz took a 63-58 lead at halftime.

But Malone and the Jazz folded in the second half.

Malone scored just one point in the final two quarters as the Clippers came from behind to beat the Jazz, 111-101, before an announced crowd of 6,707 fans at the Sports Arena.

The win snapped a six-game losing streak for the Clippers (12-56).

Malone missed 11 consecutive shots in the second half.

"They weren't doing anything differently against me," Malone said. "I just couldn't throw one in the ocean. In the first half everything I shot was going in. In the second half nothing went in. It's as simple as that. Ain't nothing else.

"I guess it's embarrassing. They've won 12 games this year and 2 are against us. But this was one that we shouldn't have lost. I don't know. This one got to me. You just have to be ready for the next game."

Malone had plenty of help as the Jazz made just two baskets in the last eight minutes.

Mark Eaton, Utah's 7-foot 4-inch center, and forward Kelly Tripucka each scored just 2 points in 13 minutes.

The Clippers got big games from guards Mike Woodson and Larry Drew and forward Michael Cage.

Woodson scored 28 points, including 7 in the final 1 1/2 minutes.

"I'll tell you who wanted the ball--Woody," Clipper Coach Don Chaney said. "It was good to have confidence in guys. As a coach I search for good stuff, and in the second half the guys came through with execution."

Drew, who was playing in his second game after missing seven straight with an ankle injury, had 23 points, including 14 in the final period.

"Drew has been pressing himself," Chaney said. 'When he comes off an injury, he presses himself. But now I feel confident having him in there. When Larry is sharp, he's super."

Cage had 24 points and 13 rebounds.

Center Benoit Benjamin hauled down 14 rebounds. Benjamin scored just 5 points, missing his first nine shots from the floor. He had just two points in the first half.

Malone scored Utah's first 8 points and 10 of their first 12.

The Jazz trailed, 57-56, late in the first half but outscored the Clippers, 7-1, to take the lead.

The Clippers led, 32-27, at the end of the first period but were outscored, 36-26, in the second period.

Cage, who scored 15 points in the first half, led the Clippers with 10 points in the first period.

Utah shot 60% in the second period, making 15 of 25 shots, while the Clippers shot 45%, hitting 10 of 22 shots.

Clipper Notes

Clipper Coach Don Chaney and assistant coach Don Casey were served with subpoenas at halftime. They have been called to testify in former Clipper owner Irv Levin's suit against Phillip Knight, majority stockholder in NIKE. The trial is scheduled for April 14 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. . . . Chaney said he hasn't talked to team officials about whether he'll be back next season. "I have more to be concerned about than whether a guy is waiting to take my job," Chaney said. "I haven't given up hope that I'll be back. It's not my fault." . . . The Clippers open a three-game trip Friday night at Phoenix.

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