George, Leonard Prevent Clippers From Brink Of Elimination, Win Game 3 Over Jazz
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Paul George and Kawhi Leonard prevented the Los Angeles Clippers from falling onto the brink of elimination with a Game 3 victory over the Utah Jazz.
The Clippers hosted the Jazz at Staples Center for Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals on Saturday, June 12.
Utah entered the contest with a 2-0 series lead. No team in NBA history has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit in the postseason.
George and Leonard played like it was Game 7 and combined for 65 points. The All-Star duo led the Clippers to their first win of the series, 132-106.
After using a bigger starting lineup in first games of the series, Los Angeles began Game 3 with a smaller group.
Jazz center Rudy Gobert controlled the opening tip-off and Utah started the game on the right note.
Joe Ingles propelled the Jazz to an 8-0 run in the first 74 seconds of action and forced the Clippers to call a timeout.
After Los Angeles’ timeout, the Clippers clicked in and took their first lead of the game midway through the first quarter.
From that point on, Los Angles controlled the opening half of play.
At the end of the first quarter, the Clippers owned a four-point lead, 27-23.
Los Angeles continued to score in the second quarter led by a great performance by George.
The Clippers outscored the Jazz by 11 points during the final 12 minutes of the half.
During the first two quarters, Utah shot 40.9 percent overall and 11-23 for 47.8 percent from downtown.
After a scoreless first quarter, Donovan Mitchell scored 16 straight points for the Jazz during the second quarter and took that total into the locker room at halftime.
At the break, George led Los Angeles with 20 points on 50 percent shooting.
Utah began the second half with more of an offensive rhythm than it did the second quarter.
The Jazz cut into the Clippers double-digit lead and at one-point in the third quarter, they had the deficit down to single digits.
Although the Jazz, outscored the home team by four points in the quarter, a few bad possessions and less than great defense prevented Utah from trimming more off of Los Angeles’ lead heading into the fourth.
At the beginning of the final period, the Clippers owned a 94-83 advantage.
During the fourth quarter, Mitchell tweaked his recovery right ankle and went to the bench and never returned to the game.
Los Angeles’ lead ballooned to over 20 points and the Jazz subbed out their main rotation players with a few minutes remaining.
With about five minutes into the fourth quarter, Mitchell attacked the basket and landed on the court with both feet before limping towards the Jazz bench. He asked Utah’s coaching staff to take him out of the game. The guard limped into the tunnel before returning to bench a couple of minutes later. Mitchell re-laced his shoe and went over to Jazz head coach Quin Snyder. While putting his around Snyder, Mitchell spoke with head coach, but was never put back into the game.
Mitchell finished the game with a team-high 30 points on 11-24 shooting, including 5-9 from deep. He also recorded five rebounds, four assists, and two steals in 32 minutes.
Utah ended the game shooting shooting 42.9 percent overall and 19-44 for 43.2 percent from three. By comparison, the Jazz shot 55.3 percent in their Game 2 win.
Five Jazzmen scored in double figures in the loss. Every Utah player finished with a negative rating during their time on the hardwood.
Mitchell was the only Jazz player to score more than 20 points.
Gobert recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. He also had one block.
Ingles cooled down after his hot first quarter, but ended with 19 points.
Royce O’Neale and Bojan Bogdanovic each scored 12 points.
Jordan Clarkson led Utah’s second unit with 14 points.
Mike Conley missed his third consecutive game with a hamstring strain.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers finished shot a blazing 56.2 percent from the field, including 19-36 for 52.8 percent from beyond the arc.
Four Los Angeles players scored at least 17 points in the game.
Leonard scored a game-high 34 points on 14-24 field goals. He added 12 rebounds, five assists, two steals, and one block in 38 minutes.
George followed that up with 31 points 12-24 shooting, including 6-10 on three-pointers. He added three rebounds, five assists, and one steal in 38 minutes.
Nicolas Batum and Reggie Jackson each scored 17 points.
With their victory. the Clippers got themselves back into the series and now trail the Jazz, 2-1.
Game 4 between the Jazz and Clippers is scheduled to take place at Staples Center on Monday, June 14 at 8 p.m. (MDT). The game will broadcast on TNT and 97.5 FM.
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