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3 keys in the Utah Jazz’s Game 1 win over the LA Clippers

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Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) drives between LA Clippers forward Marcus Morris Sr. (8) and guard Luke Kennard (5) during game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, June 8, 2021.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

Rudy Gobert blocked a 3-point attempt from Marcus Morris Sr. with a second remaining, and the Utah Jazz escaped Game 1 of their second-round playoff series against the LA Clippers with a 112-109 victory at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City.

Here are three keys from the game.

The block

The Jazz led by eight with 1:19 to play but the Clippers inched their way back in on buckets from Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. After Donovan Mitchell missed a shot with 19 seconds to go, LA opted to not call a timeout.

Utah defended the possession well but left Morris Sr. open for a 3-pointer which would have tied things up, but Gobert recovered on him well on a pump fake and a shot attempt, and he blocked the attempt to seal the win.

Donovan Mitchell

While Gobert made the ultimate game-saving play, Mitchell was incredible in the second half after a rough first half. Through 24 minutes, the Jazz trailed 60-47 and Mitchell had 13 points on 14 shots. In the third quarter, however, Mitchell scored 13 points, and then was sensational in the fourth with 19. In all, Mitchell matched his jersey number with 45 points on just 30 shot attempts, and his play seemed to wake the Jazz up.

Second-half defense

After allowing 60 points in the first half, Utah clamped down defensively in the second and allowed just 49. The Jazz were especially strong in the third quarter as they gave up just 19. That effort helped spark their offense as they climbed out of the 13-point halftime deficit to tie things up heading into the fourth quarter.


5:00, Fourth quarter: Jazz 103, Clippers 93

The Jazz have completely flipped the game in the fourth quarter. They’ve done it with good defense and great shotmaking, as they’ve scored 24 points just over halfway through the fourth quarter.

Third quarter: Jazz 79, Clippers 79

Having struggling mightily in the first half, the Jazz flipped a switch on both ends of the floor in the third quarter to charge back. Offensively, Donovan Mitchell was tremendous, as he scored 16 points. Defensively, Utah held LA to just 19 points, six of which came in the final two minutes of the frame.

Halftime: Clippers 60, Jazz 47

The Clippers are outplaying the Jazz on both ends of the floor, even as Utah’s offense got going better in the second quarter. Offensively, LA is shooting nearly 48 percent from the field compared to just 32 percent for Utah. The Clippers have made 11 of 23 3-point attempts while the Jazz have gone just 7 of 27. While the Jazz are getting good looks from 3 and just missing, LA is making it hard for Utah to get going inside.

First quarter: Clippers 25, Jazz 18

The first quarter can be boiled down to one stat: The Jazz shot an atrocious 5 of 28 from the field, including a whopping 21 consecutive misses. Donovan Mitchell and Jordan Clarkson are a combined 4 of 16 from the field, and Bojan Bogdanovic, Royce O’Neale and Georges Niang are a combined 0 of 8.