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Analysis: Utah Jazz drop Game 3 to LA Clippers in rough night on both ends of the court

The Utah Jazz lost Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals, 132-106, to the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday at Staples Center in L.A.

Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard dunks during the second half of Game 3 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Utah Jazz Saturday, June 12, 2021, in Los Angeles.
Mark J. Terrill, Associated Press

The Utah Jazz lost Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals, 132-106, to the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday at Staples Center in L.A.

Let’s start this one with a silver lining — despite the loss, the Jazz will go into Game 4 on Monday with a 2-1 series lead. They are still in a good position, but there’s a lot to be worried about. We’re going to look at the most worrying stuff first, tonight.

Flat Notes

  • Midway through the fourth quarter, Donovan Mitchell left the floor limping and went back to the locker room. He came back out to the bench, but never returned to the game, which was out of hand by that time. I feel like it goes without saying, the Jazz need Mitchell and his health will be a huge topic of discussion moving forward. When the Clippers started to mount a larger and larger lead, seeing Mitchell limp off the floor was the last thing the Jazz needed.

Low Notes

  • The Clippers were desperately trying to avoid going down 3-0 in this series and came out with a level of aggression and a defensive plan that the Jazz just couldn’t match. Even when the Jazz would get a stop, they couldn’t capitalize on the other end, and outside of a quick hot start at the very beginning of the game, it never seemed like the Jazz were really able to control either side of the ball.

“They did a good job, they raised their level. For them, they’re not going down 3-0, that was their mindset. They took care of business at home and we’ve got to try to go out there and take the next one.” — Donovan Mitchell

  • The Jazz were on the wrong end of what they’d been able to contain for the most part through the the first two games. After keeping Paul George and Kawhi Leonard from breaking out in Games 1 and 2, the Jazz had no answer for them on Saturday. The two combined for 65 points. In particular, George was clearly in his bag early on and ended up going 6 of 10 from 3-point range.

“Obviously, we weren’t playing as well as we wanted to, particularly on the defensive end and that that catches up to you.” — Jazz head coach Quin Snyder

  • The Jazz had a horrible night when it comes to ball movement and execution. There was a ton of iso ball, the Jazz assisted on just 15 of their 36 made shots (84 field goal attempts) and had 16 turnovers.
  • It’s hard coming from the atmosphere of a sold out, full arena to a Staples Center that has a ton of cardboard cut outs in the building. It felt less like a playoff game and more like a glorified preseason affair. Obviously the stakes were higher than that, but it’s weird.
  • Georges Niang had one good lob pass to Rudy Gobert, but that barely made up for his one really bad lob, and it certainly didn’t make up for his missed shots and poor decision making. It was a rough night for Niang.
  • The Clippers defense threw a lot of different looks at the Jazz, including aggressively trapping Mitchell up high. The Jazz never really countered anything the Clippers were doing. Mitchell had a couple of nice passes to the corner but the Jazz missed shots and then didn’t look like they had any other answers.
  • Miye Oni isn’t ready for this.
  • First free throws for the Jazz came with 5.6 seconds left in the first half because the Jazz were in the bonus.

High Notes

  • Mitchell, Joe Ingles and Jordan Clarkson seemed to be shooting the ball well early on.