Jamal Crawford scored 11 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter and the Clippers beat the Utah Jazz, 107-96, Sunday night in Los Angeles for their 17th consecutive victory, becoming the third team in NBA history to record a perfect month.
The Clippers went 16-0 in December to join the 1995-96 San Antonio Spurs and 1971-72 Lakers as the only teams to go undefeated over a month. Their franchise-record winning streak is the longest since Boston won 19 in a row four years ago.
Caron Butler led the Clippers with 29 points, making all six of his 3-pointers. Chris Paul added 19 points and nine assists to help them maintain the league’s best record at 25-6.
Al Jefferson scored 30 points — 1 off his season high — to lead Utah, which fell victim for the third time during the Clippers’ streak. The Jazz lost, 116-114, Friday when the Clippers rallied from 19 points down, and they were beaten, 105-104, Dec. 3, both times at home.
Gordon Hayward added 16 points as the Jazz lost their third in a row and seventh in the last nine games.
Crawford keyed a 10-5 run to open the fourth, highlighted by a 3-pointer and a fast-break pull-up jumper that helped the Clippers extend their lead to 89-81. Paul and Griffin didn’t join the second unit until 5:55 remained and Utah had closed within 4 on a basket by Derrick Favors.
That was as close as the Jazz got. The Clippers made 9 of 10 free throws down the stretch and their defense held Utah to one field goal in the final 3:38.
Los Angeles stretched its lead to 71-59 in the third quarter, when Butler scored 10 of their first 17 points.
From there, the Jazz closed on a 17-8 run to pull to 79-76 going into the fourth. Utah briefly took its first lead since early in the game when Jefferson scored over Lamar Odom, but the Jazz committed two costly turnovers in the final 49 seconds.
Paul got fouled and made both free throws, and then Matt Barnes stole the ball from Jamaal Tinsley and fed Paul on the break. He missed, but Crawford was there to tip it in and restore the Clippers’ lead.
The Clippers shot 62 percent en route to a 54-45 halftime lead, with Butler scoring 17 points in the first quarter.
Utah led briefly to start the game when Jefferson scored 8 of their first 13 points.
Spurs 111, Mavericks 86 — Tony Parker had 21 points and nine assists, Manu Ginobili had several key baskets among his 20 points and visiting San Antonio handed Dallas its sixth straight loss.
Dirk Nowitzki had 8 points on 3-of-9 shooting a week after making a surprise return in a 38-point loss to the Spurs in San Antonio.
The Spurs led all the way, with Tim Duncan helping a 20-6 start by hitting several jump shots. He finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 blocks.
Darren Collison scored 18 points to lead the Mavericks, whose losing streak is their longest since January of their championship season in 2010-11.
Pistons 96, Bucks 94 — Tayshaun Prince made two free throws with 10.9 seconds left to give host Detroit a victory over Milwaukee after the Pistons blew a 14-point lead.