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Jazz beat Clippers 110-109, LA earns home-court advantage for 1st round and locks in 4th seed

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Reserve Kenneth Lofton Jr. scored a season-high 27 points and the Utah Jazz beat the Clippers 110-109 on Friday night after playoff-bound Los Angeles clinched the fourth seed in the West.

Bones Hyland led the Clippers with 20 points off the bench and Amir Coffey added 16. Dallas' loss to Detroit ensured the Clippers' seeding and put the Mavericks in fifth before the Clippers tipped off. The Mavs and Clippers will meet in the first round for the third time in five years.

“Getting the fourth seed in a tough conference — you got four teams that won 50 games — it means a lot to have the homecourt advantage in the first round,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “Winning our (Pacific) division for the first time in 10 years says a lot about just staying with it even through tough times.”

Clippers star Kawhi Leonard missed his seventh straight game with right knee inflammation and is not expected back until the playoffs start next weekend.

“Hopefully, he will be playing,” Lue said. “That is what we want to see.”

The Clippers beat Denver, Utah, Cleveland and Phoenix shortly after Leonard went down.

“To win four games in a row against some good teams with Kawhi being out just shows what we've done to progress and get better,” Lue said, “because before it was hard to win without him on the floor.”

Already eliminated, the Jazz managed to win their second straight game for the first time since Feb. 4-6. They snapped a 12-game skid Thursday with a win over Houston, another team that's already been eliminated.

“Proud of the guys. It's hard to win back-to-back nights,” Jazz coach Will Hardy said. “We've struggled on the road this season.”

Paul George, who played just eight minutes, and Ivica Zubac added 10 points each for the Clippers, who routed the Jazz by 29 points a week ago.

Hyland gave the Clippers a 105-104 lead on a drive in the fourth. The Jazz answered with six in a row to go up 110-105. Los Angeles got within a point with 31 seconds to go on Brandon Boston Jr.'s basket. But Xavier Moon missed a potential winning 3-pointer at the final buzzer.

The Clippers led by 13 in the first half. The Jazz scored the first nine points of the third to lead 69-60 and went into the fourth ahead 86-85.

UP NEXT

Jazz: At Golden State on Sunday to end the regular season.

Clippers: Host Houston on Sunday to end the regular season.

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba

Beth Harris, The Associated Press