SALT LAKE CITY — The Chris Paul-Randy Foye mutual admiration society got together Monday morning and came to a consensus: Love is in the air.
The former teammates with the Los Angeles Clippers squared off when the Jazz and Clippers met Monday night at EnergySolutions Arena. But long before the game started, the two spoke highly of each other.
“Foye was in the backcourt with me last year, that’s a guy I truly love and care about, him and his family too,” said Paul, L.A.’s All-Star point guard. “Foye was the same way. We’re just two guys that hate to lose.”
Paul’s Clippers came from 14 points behind to beat the Jazz 105-104. Foye hit a 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds left to make it a one-point game, then stole L.A.’s in-bounds pass in time to launch a desperation shot at the buzzer.
Paul said he and Foye are high competitive people and noted how they used to have free throw shooting contests after practices.
“We shot 50 free throws,” he said. “We used to see how could make the most. We just compete in everything that we do.”
Foye started 24 games for the Clippers during the 2010-11 season and 48 least season. He averaged 9.8 points his first season and even 11 per game last season, after Paul arrived via trade.
His field goal percentage rose a full point and his 3-point shooting improved a full six points.
“He made it easy,” Foye said of Paul. “It was basically pick-your-poison. Either you’re going to give up a dunk to Blake (Griffin) or DeAndre (Jordan) or you had me, Mo (Williams) or Caron (Butler) spotted up on the weak side.”
Foye and Williams came to the Jazz in the offseason, Foye as a free agent and Williams through a trade.
Going into Monday’s game, Foye had appeared in 18 games for the Jazz, averaging 11.4 points and shooting 46 percent from 3-point range.
Clippers 105, Jazz 104
• BEST PLAY: With five minutes left in the fourth quarter, the speedy Paul drives the lane draws the defense and lifts an ally-oop pass to an awaiting Blake Griffin, who throws down a dunk to give the Clippers a 91-90 lead, their first since early in the first quarter.
• BEST LINE: In a losing effort, Al Jefferson scored 16 points on 8-for-17 shooting while also added 10 rebounds, five assists and two blocked shots.
• BLAKE VS. ENES: Jazz big man Enes Kanter said he doesn’t know Griffin personally, but has played against him a few times.
Kanter said he doesn’t worry about getting dunked on and winding up on one of Griffin’s posters.
“I’m not worried if he’s going to dunk or not dunk,” he said. “I’m just going to go and try to defend him 100 percent.”
Ask about Griffin’s talent, Kanter didn’t appear to fawn over the All-Star power forward.
“He’s a good player. That’s it,” he said.
And with that, Kanter ended his interview with reporters Monday morning.
• UP NEXT: The Jazz will play host to the Orlando Magic on Wednesday and the Toronto Raptors on Friday.