LOS ANGELES – The LA Clippers lost to the Utah Jazz in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinal series, 112-109, Tuesday night. The Angelenos let go of up to a 14-point lead in the third quarter, letting the opening game of the series slip away.
“There are no excuses, we had a thirteen point advantage at halftime. We have to remain intense. We will review the video to see what we did wrong and what needs to be improved, ”said Kawhi Leonard, who had 23 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists.
Those led by Tyronn Lue had a good first half, however, the energy and intensity of the group dropped for the second half. Utah turned things around in the final quarter after a 21-point run to 9 by the Clippers.
“They are physical, so we should be more physical next game. They are making us work, but we have faced teams like this all year, who play hard. We have to be ready on the offensive side as well. We did a good job of sharing the ball, we made shots in the first half, but we missed in the second. We have to continue to trust each other and do what we’ve done throughout the season, “said Luke Kennard, who contributed 18 units off the bench.
Donovan Mitchell hit 45 points to lead the Jazz to victory. Mitchell had two contrasting performances in each half, before taking a mentality shift. In the first half, Donovan made just 13 points with 4 of 14 shooting from the field. For the second half, Mitchell’s performance increased to 32 points with 11 of 16 shooting from the field.
“They were beating me individually, they were kicking my butt in the first half on both sides of the ball. I wasn’t getting the correct readings, I was getting tired and fatigue took over. At half time I thought, – I have to find a way – that’s what changed for me, ”shared Donovan Mitchell, who was speaking with Dwyane Wade, part owner of the team, present in the front row during the game.
Despite the loss of play that the Clippers showed in the second half, the Angelenos still had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds. Paul George made a triple that put them within three points in the last minute. In the last possession of the game, the defensive play went to Rudy Gobert for the Jazz, when he blocked a 3-point attempt by Marcus Morris looking for a tie against the buzzer.
“In the third quarter, after having an advantage of up to 14 units, we started without intensity. They played with urgency the whole game. We had a bad third quarter and they took advantage. Despite that, we still had a chance until the final seconds, ”said Paul George, who had a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds.
The second in the series will be this Thursday in Utah.