Now deprived of Kawhi Leonard, the Clippers show up with Terance Mann in the five major. Los Angeles still got off to a good start at 10-3, with Mann taking a ball and concluding in the layup. Before that, Nicolas Batum and Paul George have already struck from a distance but Bojan Bogdanovic and Royce O’Neale respond in turn.
Bojna Bogdanovic is gradually heating up, with a new 3-point first intention, then another in the corner, and in the other corner. The Croatian Jazz sniper is on fire with 18 6/7 3-pointers in the first quarter. But Utah won the period only by a small point (37-36), the fault of the duo George – Morris who cumulates 20 points, with two teams who shoot more than 60% in general, as at 3-points !
Bojan Bogdanovic on fire
The 3-point avalanche continues in Salt Lake City with Jordan Clarkson giving the locals +7. But it does not last with Luke Kennard and Reggie Jackson who throw an 8-0 to put LA in front. Clarkson obviously inherited Bogdanovic’s warm hand with an unreal 3-point 4/5, especially given the level of difficulty of his shots. With 14 points in 16 minutes, the best sixth man of the year does the job in the first half.
Utah takes +10 on a Gobert tap but Los Angeles doesn’t panic. Facing the duo Bogdanovic – Clarkson all fired up, Paul George is the quiet force that chills the burning audience of Salt Lake City.
At 22 points, plus 8 rebounds, he’s very clean (9/14 on shots), as are Jackson (10 points at 4/8) and Morris (12 points at 5/9). Despite all his efforts, with 23 points at 7/13 at 3 points, Bogdanovic can only offer an advantage of 5 points ahead at the break (65-60). Physically limited, Mitchell (9 points, 5 assists) is not as radiant.
The Clippers regain control
Paul George and Marcus Morris wear the Clippers back from the locker room. George even inherits two throws after a blatant foul from Royce O’Neale who accidentally grabs him by the neck. Los Angeles in fact manages to chain a 13-2 straddling half-time and regains the advantage. An advantage further accentuated after a technical fault, finicky, on Clarkson which pushes Batum to stand out.
The Jazz manages to hang on with Rudy Gobert who wins the tap, on three possessions in a row. It was necessary after two Californian 3-points, from Paul George and Terance Mann. The Jazz either misses many open shots, including a 0/10 abyss behind the arc, or is simply too slow to fire, after 24 seconds. Los Angeles regained control of operations in this third quarter (32-18). Behind George (30) and Morris (24), the Clippers are ahead before the last round (92-83).
« Playoffs P » assure
Under high tension, this fourth quarter is particularly choppy, with whistles and throws in all directions. Utah took the opportunity to close the gap but the Clippers responded with Reggie Jackson and Nicolas Batum who found the target at 3-points. The Jazz nevertheless returned to contact with a 7-0 initiated by an interception of Ingles who intervened in the pass line and served Gobert for a big two-handed dunk.
Mitchell scored despite Batum’s fault but Reggie Jackson, again, chained 5 quick points to put the wind in the sails of his Clippers. Mitchell returns to the charge and Bogdanovic follows suit but Los Angeles manages to break this semblance of dynamic with Mann who crushes a big dunk on Gobert’s head for the “and one”. A new basket plus the fault, for George against O’Neale gives 7 points ahead of less than 2 minutes.
Despite a final arrow from Bogdanovic, the Clippers will no longer be joined and win away for this crucial Game 5 (119-111), with a “Playoffs P” found: 37 points, 16 rebounds and 5 assists.