Playing without Kawhi Leonard the Clippers were excellent defensively and got huge contributions from multiple guys to take down a hobbled Jazz squad. The Jazz had no answer for Paul George again who scored 37, blitzing the Jazz all night long. He also grabbed 16 rebounds and dished out 5 assists. It was truly a career night for George.
Alongside Paul George, Reggie Jackson hit big shot after big shot scoring 22 points with great intensity. Marcus Morris was also massive for the Clippers with 25 points, shooting 10/16 from the field and 3⁄4 from 3.
For the Jazz, who were without Mike Conley again, they needed a big night from someone and just didn’t get it. In the first half it looked like Bojan Bogdanovic might have been that guy hitting 6/6 from three, but the second half did him in ending the night 9/17. In fact, the Jazz as a whole hit just three 3s in the entire second half. These are the nights where Donovan Mitchell normally steps up for the Jazz but because of a hurt ankle, that step isn’t as possible.
Other players who struggled in this one were Joe Ingles who was 1/5 from three including a brutal miss on a wide open corner 3 near the end. Jordan Clarkson actually had a decent night shooting the ball, but defense really was the biggest problem tonight. Royce O’Neale had some great moments in the first half and made some nice plays, he also had some heartbreakers with a late foul on George, a travel, and multiple missed threes. It was a brutal second half of basketball for the Jazz.
Rudy Gobert was on the floor for 41 minutes, but he couldn’t do everything for the Jazz. They just looked old and slow on so many possessions and the Clippers looked confident on all their shots. It’s a tough pill to swallow for a Jazz team that rated high in defensive metrics all season to see the defense falter so many times.
The other issue is that the Jazz just didn’t hit clutch shots or free throws. The Clippers missed just 4 free throws this game while the Jazz missed 8. And like I mentioned before, The Jazz hit 17 threes in the first half but ended the game with 20 total. They could only make 3 the rest of the game and it cost them. At this point it’s spilt milk for the Jazz who have to find a way to get a victory in Los Angeles or they go home. Get ready for a quick turnaround and not a lot of options for the Jazz.
One thing is for sure, you can still count on Quin Snyder running out Derrick Favors, Georges Niang and Mye Oni as a second unit. Favors was a -7, Niang a -4 and Oni a -8. For Favors, who was given the full MLE this offseason, to be -7 in 6 minutes of play is just utterly demoralizing. There is no end in sight for that contract either, you just have to figure things out. The Jazz still have a chance in this series, but things are looking bleak, perhaps there’s some sort of miracle in store for the Jazz because that’s what it appears it’s going to take for a different outcome in LA.