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Clippers run into roadblocks while losing to Jazz in Swat Lake City

SALT LAKE CITY — Block, block.

Who’s there?

Interrupting Jazz.

Interrupting Jazz wh…

Block, block, block, block, block, block, block, block, block, block.

If Wednesday’s game between the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz was remade into a bad dad joke, it might go something like that.

Needing a home win to remain in the mix for that coveted fourth seed and accompanying home-court advantage, the Jazz interrupted the Clippers time and time again en route to a season-high 12 blocked shots and a 111-105 win at Vivint Arena.

The Clippers, who are holding on to the final playoff spot in the Western Conference at 34-29, only hope the exits out of Swat Lake City aren’t blocked, too, after losing a game in which they led by 17 points.

“Obviously, Utah historically has been a physical basketball team,” Clippers guard Lou Williams said. “I think those guys play together. They have a lot of size, but overall they’re just a good basketball team.”

Utah especially showed that in the second half, outscoring Los Angeles 62-49 to win for the seventh time in eight home games while improving to 34-26. Currently in the No. 6 position in the Western Conference playoff standings, the Jazz are just 1.5 games behind No. 5 Houston and three behind No. 4 Portland.

Being aggressive on both ends of the court was a key to this win, Utah’s second-straight after that tough overtime loss in Oklahoma City last Friday.

Donovan Mitchell attacked the rim while scoring a game-high 32 points, including 12 free throws (nine makes). Rudy Gobert added his league-leading 49th double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds.

The Jazz’s three other starters also scored in double figures, with Ricky Rubio and Derrick Favors (11 rebounds) each dropping in 13 points and Joe Ingles chipping in 11 points, six assists and five rebounds.

“That’s a big win for us,” Favors said. “Everybody is so close right now in the standings. We need every win that we can get and hopefully it pays off for us in the end.”

The Jazz got two blocks during a key stretch in the third quarter when they turned a nine-point deficit into a two-point lead.

Utah's first block in the push was by — you guessed it — Ingles. That led to Mitchell's second 3-pointer in 22 seconds.

Gobert also swatted a shot in the momentum-switching 11-0 run, which eventually resulted in an Ingles jumper and a 60-58 lead.

The Stifle Tower led the Jazz's block party with four swats, while Ingles and Favors each had three rejections. Mitchell and Kyle Korver, of course, also blocked the Clippers one time apiece.

That defensive aggressiveness helped limit Los Angeles to 39.4 percent shooting, which was a bonus for the home team on a night the Jazz only hit 41.3 percent of their field goals.

Not surprisingly for a competitor, Gobert wasn't completely satisfied — an admission to the media throng that segued into a humorous conversation with his cheeky teammate and fellow renowned rim protector from Australia.

"We could have gotten more," Gobert said of the 12 blocks. "We had to protect the rim."

Ingles humorously interjected.

"You're lucky I did that," the Aussie said after setting a new career-high for blocks.

Gobert continued — to the media.

"The guys did a good job taking away the three and we had to protect the basket," he said, "and Derrick did a great job, and I tried to do a good job, too."

Ingles chimed in again — with a compliment this time.

"You did a great job, Rudy," he said.

"I appreciate it," Gobert responded.

The Jazz scored the first five points of the fourth quarter to take a 98-94 lead, and then fended off the Clippers the rest of the way.

It helped the Jazz win for the seventh time this season after trailing by 10 or more points.

Both coaches liked the intensity.

"I think it was a physical game," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. "I think we adjusted to that and Donovan attacked the rim. When you do that, you get a chance, good things can happen."

"Yeah, I tell you, it was as close as our guys see to a playoff game," Rivers said. "I mean, it was amazing how hard both teams are playing. Neither one of us could get our offense going."

The Jazz will likely need to pick up the intensity another notch or two if they hope to keep their winning ways going in a TNT-televised showdown with Northwest Division-leading Denver on Thursday at Pepsi Center.

JAZZ NOTES: Gobert reached the 4,000-rebound mark of his career with his fourth board of the night and is closing in on John Stockton (4,051 rebounds) for the No. 4 spot on the Jazz's all-time leaderboard for rebounds. ... The team finished with 56 rebounds and improved to 4-1 when grabbing at least 55 boards. ... Snyder complimented the play of the second unit, particularly Raul Neto (10 points, five rebounds) and Royce O'Neale (key late rebound). Jae Crowder added nine points and eight boards off the bench.