The Los Angeles Clippers (1-1) won an emotional game at home over the Utah Jazz (1-1) and tied their best of seven series with their 99-91 victory on Wednesday night. The Clippers won a wire-to-wire victory and really came out strong in the first quarter. There were dunks! And there were points in the paint. And there were lobs! And even more dunks!
I guess in a world without Rudy Gobert this is what you expected to see. But, for reals? If LA was filled with so many bad ashes, why didn’t they do this in game one? I digress.
The Clippers, powered by an unstoppable Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan pick and roll, they jumped out to an 11-5 lead. Utah hung around, but couldn’t get over the jump Blake Griffin was running hard and getting the ball down low, and off of cuts. Jordan and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute both had as many offensive rebounds as the Jazz did total.
Los Angeles controlled the paint, and controlled the pace of play.
Utah won the second quarter 24-22, tied the third quarter 28-28, and won the fourth quarter 21-20. The difference was that dominant first quarter (29-18).
Utah stayed in it by making three pointers (Gordon Hayward 3/6, Joe Ingles 2/3, George Hill 2/6, and Diaw, Hood, and Hill each added one). But the dagger late in the fourth, with the Clippers nursing a 6 point lead, was a dagger corner three by Blake Griffin.
Griffin finished with 24 points; Paul 21 and 10, with 3 steals; and Jordan 19 and 15, and he controlled the paint. Jamal Crawford came off the bench to score 10 off of 12 shots. But once again, they got nothing from Redick, who finished with 4 points.
The Jazz didn’t get as big a bench push as they needed, Joe Johnson was a scorer, but it was volume, he needed 15 shots to score 13 points. He missed all four of his threes. He and Joe Ingles missed open threes. Gordon Missed a few really open shots as well.
Live by the three - die by the three.
And the Jazz died tonight in transition, in the paint, and at the end, from outside.
The Clippers still couldn’t score in triple digits. And it was a 3 point game at one point, but mostly between 6 and 9 the entire night. Moral victories don’t get your team in the next round. If the Jazz want to advance it’s Quin Snyder’s turn to make adjustments.
I think he will.
Gordon Hayward paced the team with 20 points, but someone else needs to step up. The old guard did in Game 1. Maybe in Game 3 the new guard does?
We’ll see these guys in action in Utah for Game 3 (Fri) and 4 (Sat).