I really don’t know, man. My body is just buzzing right now. The Utah Jazz (1-0) beat the Los Angeles Clippers (0-1) in Game 1 of their first round Playoff series. The final score? A razor thin 97-95. This was an improbable victory off of a frankly impossible scenario - win a game against a team you usually lose to, on their home court, after your MVP sustain an injury within the first play of the game. Rudy Gobert won the tip, ran up the court, set a screen, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute’s knee hit his, and Rudy was down and out for the game.
He will have an MRI tonight but I don’t know what that’s going to tell us. Good news, I hope.
While the DPOY of the NBA was down and out the Jazz were not. Joe Ingles was a scrappy two-way player in the first quarter and set the tone. He stole the ball, he played great defense. He didn’t let J.J. Redick get anything tonight. And he got to the line, and created for everyone. Ingles led the charge early against the “favorites.”
Boris Diaw picked up the slack as well, and his eel like post moves, patience, and court vision really helped break down the Clippers half court defense. LRMaM was all over Gordon Hayward and G-Time had a very quiet start to this game.
And with Rudy out we saw both Derrick Favors and Jeff Withey get into first quarter foul trouble. It looked very grim. Grim, indeed, Jazz fans.
DeAndre Jordan was too big inside, and their conditional three point shooters were getting open and hitting shots (Blake Griffin would go 2/3 from outside, LRMaM went 2/4, Marreese Speights went 2/3). Luckily, Chris Paul was quiet as well. Still, he directed his team to a 24-22 first quarter lead.
Utah didn’t crumble, with Joe Johnson and Derrick Favors really making strong plays in the second to keep the Jazz in it. They would eventually gain 2 points in the quarter and enter halftime tied with the Clippers - proving how close these two teams really are on the court.
The third quarter had CP3 and G-Time start to assert themselves more. Others followed their leaders. Blake Griffin continued to score inside and out. Jamal Crawford started to hit some rhythm shots. But for the Jazz Joe Johnson continued to churn out good plays.
Utah was up by four, on the road, going into the fourth. That’s a win right there, right?
I guess so. But you know what’s even more of a win? And actual win on their home court with all of America watching ESPN. I’m going to finish this recap and re-watch the fourth quarter again. But it was very intense.
Derrick Favors is clearly hurt again, but toughing it out. George Hill has the toughest job in the world in trying to stop Chris Paul, but he had a very good game despite that challenge. Gordon started to make shots in the middle of the fourth and carry the offense but he seemed to run out of steam.
Johnson took the team over the end-zone with the last second, do not call a time out, get a switch with Joe Ingles’ man, and score the game winner as the buzzer sounds.
Johnson also played defense in this game (21 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 3 threes). Hayward hit the boards (19 and 10). Diaw led the team in assists (7 / 4 / 6). Ingles completely shut down Redick, and was all over the place (8 / 2 / 2 / 2 / 1). It was a team effort where everyone rallied around one another.
And you can say they stole game one. I say that worked their butts off for it. They deserved this win.
Utah has a few nights off before Game 2, on Tuesday. Hope to hear good news about Rudy Gobert soon.
Jazz center Rudy Gobert is getting an MRI right now, but a source tells The Undefeated his ACL and MCL are fine. https://t.co/ZhesjD5umK— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) April 16, 2017