The Utah Jazz lost Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals, 119-111, against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night, setting up a Game 6 that is win or go home for the Jazz.

High Notes

  • The Jazz’s offense was singing in the first quarter. They were moving the ball and getting wide open looks and everything seemed to be flowing with such ease. The Jazz went 10 of 15 from 3-point range and looked like they were on pace for one of those hot Jazz shooting nights that seemed to come so often in the regular season.
  • Bojan Bogdanovic in particular had an amazing first half. He went 6 of 7 from deep for 18 points in the first quarter and had 23 of his 32 points by half time. 
  • Royce O’Neale was another shining spot in the first quarter. He was aggressive on offense with shooting and driving and was coming up with offensive rebounds and tapping the ball out.
  • Miye Oni isn’t a top option for the postseason, but in spot minutes he is what the Jazz have. I’ll say this about his effort on the boards; when Oni is flying in and tapping trying to get an offensive rebound, it doesn’t always end the right way, but just him getting a hand on the ball slows down the other team and keeps them from running open in transition. 

Low Notes

  • The Jazz had a few short flashes of really excellent defense and moments where they really turned up the intensity, but those moments came too sparingly and mostly were too little, too late.

“We made shots in the first half and I think we took advantage of that fact because we gave up some easy baskets...we’ve just got to be better in those areas.” — Jazz head coach Quin Snyder

  • The Jazz committed 11 turnovers in the first half...to their credit they kept better care of the ball in the second half, but they’ll certainly look back on the points they gave up off turnovers and wish they’d had those possessions back so that they could have mounted a bigger half time lead rather than the small five-point lead they took into intermission.
  • I know that I’ve already mentioned the Jazz defense but it really left a lot to be desired. While the Jazz’s shooters were firing and hitting at an unbelievable rate early on, the defense was allowing the Clippers to get a ton of open looks and wasn’t really providing any resistance for Paul George who had 22 of his 37 points in the first half.

“Paul is a little comfortable. Hats off to him for doing what he does, but you can’t just have Royce out there and then just Rudy help. We’ve got to make it tough.” — Donovan Mitchell

  • In particular the Jazz were not closing out on known shooters. That really hurt the Jazz as they were trying to mount a comeback late in the game.
  • The Jazz missed a lot of open shots and good looks, especially down the stretch, that could have brought them back into this game.
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Flat Notes

  • After having such an aggressive start to the game, O’Neale looked like a different player later in the game. He was hesitant and wasn’t getting up as intentionally on rebounds and was worked over too many times while he was on defense. The Jazz need him to be good on that side so badly. What’s worse is that he had a hard fall and seemed like he wasn’t able to move as well after that. Hopefully he’s not added to the list of Jazz players that is hobbled.
  • The Jazz shot just 70.4% from the free throw line and missed a lot of really important ones that could have stopped some of the Clippers momentum.
  • Donovan Mitchell is doing his absolute best to play through pain and while it’s admirable and impressive, it’s just not fun to watch a guy with his talent not be able to do what he normally does.