NBA Basketball

119
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
LA Clippers 36 24 32 27 119
Utah 37 28 18 28 111
111
7:00 PM PT8:00 PM MT9:00 PM CT10:00 PM ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 PM MST9:00 PM EST6:00 UAE (+1)03:0022:00 ET8:00 PM CT1:00 , June 16, 2021
Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah  Attendance: 18,007

Jazz chase momentum as Clippers visit minus Kawhi Leonard

According to STATS
According to STATS

Los Angeles Clippers at Utah Jazz

  1. LA has come back from an 0-2 deficit to tie a series at 2-2 for the second series in a row. The Clippers have won three straight playoff games only twice before -- last year and in 2015 -- and are 0-7 all-time in Game 5s on the road when the series score is 2-2.
  2. The Jazz scored only 13 first-quarter points in Game 4, their fewest in any quarter over the last two seasons. Utah is the only team this year without a three-game losing streak and has won four straight at home, its longest postseason home win streak since 2008 (4 games).
  3. The Clippers are 4-8 when the series score is 2-2 in a best-of-seven series but have won their last two such series -- against Dallas both last year and this year. The Jazz are 3-4 but won their most recent such series, when they beat the Clippers in the first round in 2017. Utah is 7-1 with a 3-2 lead in a best-of-seven series, compared to 1-8 when it goes down 3-2.
  4. During the regular season, the Clippers went 36-16 with Kawhi Leonard versus 11-9 without him. LA outscored opponents by 9.0 points per game with him in the lineup but were outscored by 1.1 ppg in its 20 games without him.
  5. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are the first teammate duo to each score 20+ points in 11 straight games to begin a single postseason since Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal did so in all 12 of the Lakers' games in 2003.
  6. Donovan Mitchell has scored 30+ points in six straight games. He is the fifth guard since 1965 to do that in a single postseason, joining Stephen Curry, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and Jerry West. West is the only one with a seven-game streak, as he did so in 1966.
(AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Kawhi Leonard could be done for the series and is out for Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals with a right knee injury.

That poses significant challenges for the Los Angeles Clippers, and could be a convincing edge for the Utah Jazz with momentum up for grabs in a pivotal Game 5 on Wednesday night.

Rudy Gobert believes Utah's problems, which led to two straight blowout losses to the Clippers in Los Angeles, center around the offense.

"When we take tough shots, it's hard to get back and set our defense," Gobert said. "We commit fouls, we give up layups, we give up 3s. It's a cycle -- when we play the right way offensively, we play better defensively."

Donovan Mitchell acknowledges the offensive struggles, but also pointed at Utah's defensive woes.

"They were just at a different level, but we couldn't buy a bucket," he said. "And we just didn't guard. We've got to keep guarding."

In all likelihood, the Jazz will need to improve on both sides of the court if they hope to snap a two-game skid and regain an advantage in a series tied 2-2 heading into Game 5 on Wednesday night in Salt Lake City.

The Clippers' stars awakened the past two games -- Leonard and Paul George each scored at least 30 points in Games 3 and 4 victories -- while the suffocating defense and smoking offense that helped the Jazz jump out to a 2-0 series start looked rather pedestrian at Staples Center.

"Myself and Kawhi got full trust in each other," George said. "It's opportunities for us to score when we get switches, but then there's opportunities to allow our teammates to be aggressive and make plays for them when we can attack our mismatches. I think it's just a healthy mix."

They were very healthy on Monday, with George and Leonard each scoring 31 points in a 118-104 win.

George faces the possibility of needing another wing man to emerge on Wednesday night at Utah.

"These guys understand that we need them to be the head of the snake and be super aggressive," Clippers forward Marcus Morris Sr. said. " Those guys are our leaders. We go as they go and they understand that. Guys have just been picking up the slack behind them."

The Jazz, meanwhile, continue to hope for the series debut of All-Star point guard Mike Conley and for the return of their all-around stellar play, which helped them earn the No. 1 seed for the playoffs. Coming home to 18,300 exuberant fans should help.

Aside from the 0-for-21 stretch the Jazz endured in their Game 1 come-from-behind win, things couldn't get much worse than they did in the first half Monday. The Clippers used a 10-0 run after Utah scored the first basket and increased that lead to 51-22 before Utah snapped out of its funk and made the game somewhat more competitive.

"We gotta stay connected, stay together," Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic said. "They won two games at home. Now we have to protect our home court."

Clippers coach Tyronn Lue wants more of what his players brought, especially defensively, when they return to Utah. L.A.'s zone defense and smaller lineups have been particularly effective.

"I thought it was our defense where we set the tone," Lue said of the Game 4 win. "We were able to get out in transition."

--Field Level Media

Updated June 16, 2021

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