LOS ANGELES — The LA Clippers had Kawhi Leonard and Paul George again within the lineup on Friday, and the timing couldn’t have been any higher.The surging Utah Jazz, winners of 20 of their earlier 21 video games, together with an 18-point win over the Clippers on Wednesday, had been again in Staples Center for a second straight recreation. And the Clippers wished to point out the place they stood towards the highest workforce within the West standings.Leonard scored 29 factors and got here up with two large offensive rebounds within the remaining minute to assist the Clippers maintain off the Jazz, 116-112, and snap Utah’s nine-game successful streak.”They are one of the best workforce within the NBA proper now record-wise,” Clippers coach Ty Lue stated. “We knew that they received 20 of 21 coming into tonight. We bought our guys again, and we wished to win this recreation.”The Clippers (22-9) had their two stars again on the court docket after George missed the earlier seven video games due to a swollen proper toe and Leonard sat out the earlier three due to a decrease left leg contusion. The Clippers’ beginning lineup was complete once more with ahead Nicolas Batum additionally returning after lacking the earlier two video games due to a concussion.”I’m simply joyful I used to be capable of get out and play immediately,” stated Leonard, who wore a sleeve on his decrease left leg. “We had been capable of be wholesome and get our beginning 5 on the market, and that is what it is about. We need to get higher. We have not bought an opportunity to actually play with a full, wholesome roster the final two weeks or so. So hopefully we are able to have some blessings and be capable of keep wholesome to complete until the All-Star [break] is began.”The Jazz (24-6) additionally had guard Mike Conley (proper hamstring) again within the lineup for this showdown between two of the West’s greatest groups. Conley scored 16 factors, nevertheless it was Donovan Mitchell who almost saved the Jazz’s streak alive. Mitchell scored 35 factors, with 29 coming within the second half. The guard scored 12 factors within the remaining 1:23 when he helped Utah slice a late 13-point deficit down to 2 with 13 seconds remaining.Jazz middle Rudy Gobert stated the sport “felt like a playoff recreation — the depth, the robust photographs that they had been making all evening.”For Utah, this was a uncommon tight recreation. During their 20-1 stretch, the Jazz had logged simply seven minutes in clutch time, when the rating is inside 5 factors within the remaining 5 minutes. That is the fewest within the NBA over that span.”There’s so many alternative issues that we have seen all through this stretch,” Mitchell stated. “We’re not right here to be glad with what occurs immediately, tomorrow. We’re preparing for the lengthy haul — second half of the season and the playoffs. We’ve bought to proceed to be this workforce and never simply be this workforce within the first half of the season.”Like the Jazz, who blew a 3-1 sequence result in the Denver Nuggets within the first spherical of the playoffs final season, the Clippers are also striving to be higher than they had been within the earlier postseason. They blew a 3-1 sequence result in the Nuggets within the second spherical.The Clippers will want a wholesome Leonard and George to go additional this season. George stated that he had been taking part in with a sore toe and was capable of handle it with a break day in between video games till taking part in in a back-to-back video games towards Brooklyn and Cleveland. George then skilled swelling and needed to be shut down till the swelling and ache subsided.”We performed Brooklyn after which Cleveland, two robust video games that actually triggered me to need to dig down and push, plant and play off these toes,” stated George, who had 15 factors, six rebounds and 5 assists in 27 minutes. “Just that again to again type of tipped me overboard and I could not recuperate, I wanted a while off as a result of it was swelled up. i simply tried to maintain it rolling for the workforce, and it wound up creeping up on me.””I really feel good,” George added of how his toe felt popping out of the sport. “Just getting again into the swing of issues.”The identical might be stated for the Clippers, who had been glad to have their stars again wholesome towards the red-hot Jazz.”We’re basketball followers on the finish of the day, and, after all, you see the noise being made all through the season,” Clippers guard Patrick Beverley stated of the Jazz’s 20-1 stretch. “We really wished the one which we gave up, we type of ran out of fuel towards the tip [on Wednesday]. You gotta give credit score to Utah. They bought a hell of a system, hella gamers, the coaches.”It was a tough recreation, and that is the kind of recreation you need within the NBA, and we’re lucky to get a win for certain.”