3 keys in the Utah Jazz’s 119-111 Game 5 loss to the LA Clippers
Thanks to a dominant third quarter and stellar play from Paul George, Marcus Morris Sr., and Reggie Jackson, the Clippers shocked the Jazz, who are now one loss away from being eliminated from the postseason.
Game 5 has been pivotal in best-of-seven series in NBA history. Win and a team is all but assured to advance to the next round. Lose and the outlook for advancement is grim.
The Utah Jazz took on the LA Clippers in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals Wednesday night in Salt Lake City and the Jazz fell to the Clippers 119-111.
The Clippers took a 3-2 series lead with the win, with play resuming for Game 6 Friday night in Los Angeles.
Here are three keys to the Jazz’s series-altering loss.
Hit and miss 3-point shooting
Utah almost couldn’t miss from behind the arc in the first half of the contest, making 17 3-pointers before the break. Whether it be Bojan Bogdanović, Jordan Clarkson or Royce O’Neale, the Jazz were excellent from deep. That all changed in the second half, though. Utah didn’t make a single 3-pointer in the third quarter and while the Jazz hit a couple in the fourth, via Donovan Mitchell and Bogdanović, it simply wasn’t enough for a team that relies so heavily on its outside shooting.
No answer for Reggie Jackson
Entering the game, all eyes were on Clippers star forward Paul George, after Kawhi Leonard was ruled out with a knee injury. George was great all night long and finished with 37 points and 16 rebounds, but it was Jackson who the Jazz couldn’t handle. The veteran point guard hit timely shot after timely shot, particularly in the fourth quarter, helping the Clippers stave off all Jazz rally attempts.
Stagnation on offense
In both of Utah’s losses to LA in Southern California, the Clippers were able to make the Jazz an isolation team. They did it again to the Jazz Wednesday night, as Utah’s ‘blender’ couldn’t really get going. Utah finished with only 15 assists as a team, while the Clippers, who prefer isolation offense, ended the game with 17. Mitchell, the Jazz’s main answer in isolation situations, struggled much of the night, his ankle injury clearly hampering him.
End of 4th Quarter
Clippers 119, Jazz 111
George and Jackson had standout quarters and finished with 37 and 22 points in the game, respectively. While the Jazz were able to rally and get within two possessions of taking the lead on multiple occasions, thanks to George and Jackson the Clippers had an answer time and time again.
Donovan Mitchell tried to make his mark on the game in the fourth quarter, and finished the game with 21 points, but he shot only 6 of 19 from the field and 4 of 14 from 3-point range. Mitchell wasn’t at his best all night long and his ankle injury was a clear source of frustration.
End of 3rd Quarter
Clippers 92, Jazz 83
The Clippers went on 17-5 run to start the third quarter, and led by as many as 10 points in the period. George continued to be LA’s catalyst on offense and now has a game-high 30 points.
After shooting lights out in the first half, the Jazz came down to earth and scored only 18 points in the period. The only real bright side was the play of center Rudy Gobert, who has 13 points and seven rebounds.
End of 2nd Quarter
Jazz 65, Clippers 60
The hot shooting continued for both teams, but more so for the Jazz. Utah finished the half shooting 63.9% from the field and 58.6% from 3-point range (Utah made 17 3-pointers). Bogdanović continued to play well, and leads all scorers with 23 points. Jazz reserve Jordan Clarkson had a breakout quarter himself, making all but one of his shot attempts, finishing the half with 14 points.
For every run that the Jazz made, though, the Clippers had an answer. George finished the half with 22 points and got some support from his teammates, namely Morris (12 points), Reggie Jackson (10 points) and Luke Kennard (six points). LA trailed by as many as 10, but closed the half trailing by only five.
End of 1st Quarter
Jazz 37, Clippers 36
The Clippers jumped out to an early 10-3 lead, before the Jazz rallied, behind the play of Royce O’Neale and Bojan Bogdanović. O’Neale got things going early, with a pair of 3-pointers, and then Bogdanović took over, connecting on six 3-pointers of his own.
Utah shot a blistering 72.2% from the field and 66.7% from 3-point range, but as well as the Jazz played, the Clippers were right there with them, shooting 59.1 % from the field themselves, and 62.5% from behind the arc. Bogdanović led all scorers with 18 points, while Paul George and Marcus Morris Sr. each scored 10.
Here are a few links to stories you may want to read prior to or during the game: