The Utah Jazz closed well, and now lead their second round playoff series against the LA Clippers 2-0 after a 117-111 victory on Thursday night at Vivint Arena.
Up by just one inside of five minutes to play, the Jazz went on a 9-0 run to take control and then held on for the win.
The series now shifts to Los Angeles for Games 3 and 4, with Game 3 set for Saturday evening.
Here are three keys from the game.
Joe Ingles was huge down the stretch
The Jazz’s offense was completely stymied in the third quarter and much of the fourth as the Clippers went to a zone defense and upped the intensity. To start the decisive run, he connected with Rudy Gobert in the pick and roll for an eventual 3-point play, then assisted on a Royce O’Neale 3-pointer the Jazz’s next possession. He then made a 3-pointer of his own to cap the run as Utah took control.
Ingles has struggled mightily throughout the playoffs, but broke out in a huge way, scoring 19 points on 7 of 10 shooting, including 4 of 7 from behind the 3-point line. He also tallied four assists, four rebounds and a steal.
The Clippers didn’t make shots at the end
Yes, the Jazz finally started executing in the closing minutes, but it helped that LA missed some good looks on the other end of the floor. In fact, the Clippers did not make a field goal for over five minutes down the stretch, finally connecting on one with 1:30 to go to cut their deficit to eight.
Donovan Mitchell was excellent again
Whereas Mitchell did his damage in the second half of Game 1, he did it in the first half of Game 2, scoring 27 points before intermission. In all, he scored 37 to pace the Jazz. Jordan Clarkson scored 24 off the bench, and Ingles, Gobert and Bojan Bogdanovic all had at least 13.
5:54, Fourth quarter: Jazz 104, Clippers 101
After falling behind, the Jazz converted on two consecutive possessions to retake the lead.
6:37, Fourth quarter: Clippers 101, Jazz 99
The Clippers’ defense has continued to completely flummox the Jazz as they can’t break it down and get to the basket or swing the ball for open 3-pointers. LA is on an 8-2 run to take the lead.
Third quarter: Jazz 93, Clippers 86
The Clippers got to within four, but Jordan Clarkson hit two huge 3-pointers on consecutive possessions, stretching the Jazz’s lead back out to 10 inside of 90 seconds to play in the quarter.
3:33, Third quarter: Jazz 82, Clippers 76
After the Jazz had opened up a big lead coming out of halftime, the Clippers started playing a zone defense, and it worked wonders, completely flustering the Utah offense.
9:51, Third quarter: Jazz 74, Clippers 55
The Clippers came out of intermission doubling Donovan Mitchell, and he made them pay as the Jazz extended their lead. He found Rudy Gobert for a wide open dunk and Bojan Bogdanovic for a wide open 3-pointer, and then made a 3 of his own.
Halftime: Jazz 66, Clippers 53
After a pretty even start to the second quarter, the Jazz closed the frame on a 14-3 run in the final 3:16 to seize the 13-point halftime lead. Twelve of those Utah points came in the last 1:48. The Jazz did it by stringing together some stops and scores, something they hadn’t previously been able to combine to break the game open. Donovan Mitchell has 27 points to lead Utah.
First quarter: Jazz 30, Clippers 29
The Jazz, specifically Donovan Mitchell, came out incredibly strong before the Clippers stepped up the intensity to get back in it. Utah scored just six points in the final 4:29 of the frame. Mitchell has 14 points to lead all scorers, while Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have five apiece for LA.
Clippers Game 2 starters:— Andrew Greif (@AndrewGreif) June 11, 2021