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Conley breaks out, Jazz beat Clippers as Leonard rests

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Mike Conley snapped an early season slump with 29 points and the Utah Jazz beat the Los Angeles Clippers 110-96 on Wednesday night with Kawhi Leonard sitting out.

“I just wanted to get back to who I am,” Conley said.

Conley had 18 points in the third quarter as the Jazz scored 40 in the period and took a 90-71 lead. Utah (4-1) has won three in a row.

Leonard missed the game for scheduled rest, though coach Doc Rivers has said his star forward has been healthy and energized. The Clippers play the second half of a back-to-back Thursday against San Antonio in Los Angeles.

Donovan Mitchell scored 24 points, Bojan Bogdanovic had 14 and Rudy Gobert 13.

Lou Williams paced the Clippers (3-2) with 24 points, 16 before halftime.

The matchup of one of the league’s top defenses against one of the top offenses lost some its luster without Leonard, but the Jazz showed how potent they could be with 55 percent shooting while holding their opponents below 100 points for the fifth straight game.

JaMychal Green, who had 23 points, led his fellow Clipper reserves in a fourth-quarter rally, cutting a 23-point edge to 99-89. Conley responded with a 3-pointer and a lob to Gobert for a dunk.

Conley struggled in his first four games with Utah after playing 12 years in Memphis, including a 1-for-16 shooting performance in the opener and an 0-for-7 outing in the last game. In recent days, he admitted it has taken more time than he expected to feel comfortable with the Jazz plays and terminology.

When Conley hit a 3-pointer and followed it with a tough layup high off the backboard in third quarter, he pumped his fist and yelled to the rafters. When Los Angeles called timeout, the entire Jazz bench leaped off the bench and ran onto the court to greet the point guard.

A few minutes later, Conley hit a high-arcing 3-pointer and motioned for the crowd to get louder. Cheers rang out and then turned into chants of “Con-ley, Con-ley, Con-ley”.

Conley made 11 of 17 shots, including five 3-pointers, and had five assists with a season-low two turnovers.

The Jazz were hot from the start and led by 14 points early in the second quarter. The Clippers trimmed the advantage to 52-51 at halftime.

TIP INS

Clippers: Williams, who has won the Sixth Man of the Year award a record three times, started the game. “Lou has no problem starting or coming off the bench,” Rivers said. … LA had 20 turnovers.

Jazz: Dante Exum is still inactive as he recovers from knee surgery. . Utah had a season-high 13 steals.

UP NEXT

Clippers host the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night.

Jazz visit Sacramento Kings on Friday night.

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