LOS ANGELES – The LA Clippers will have to row against the current in back-to-back series after a poor start and suffer their second straight loss to the Utah Jazz, 117-111, in the Western Conference Semifinals this Thursday night.
“We have to give them credit, they are a tough rival. There is a reason why they were number one in the Western Conference in the regular season, despite that, we feel that many of our failures are caused by ourselves and we can correct, “said Paul George, who finished with 27 points and 10 bounces.
Contrary to what happened in Game 1, where the Clippers blew a double-digit lead, tonight the Angels got off to a slow start from which they could no longer recover.
“We cannot start a game like that against a good team, the first half was the difference. We dug such a big hole that you spend all your energy trying to get out and you don’t have enough gas left at the end to finish. And we had just talked about it as a group, starting the games strong. Donovan Mitchell had another great start for them and he set the pace, ”Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said.
Donovan Mitchell had another great performance for the Jazz. Mitchell scored 27 points in the first half alone, for the 37 totals on his account. The only concern for Utah for the rest of the series will be the discomfort in his already sore right ankle that Mitchell presented in the final stretch of the game, after a collision with Paul George.
“I’m great, no problems,” said an encouraging Mitchell at the end of the game referring to his ankle.
Mitchell is the leader of the group, however, the strength of the Jazz game lies in spreading the load and moving the ball on offense. The points were divided between six elements, five of them with double-digits. Rudy Gobert, Best Defender of the Year, also contributed 20 rebounds.
Jazz was on fire from the perimeter. Utah made 20 long-range shots, something that made all the difference. Not only that, but when the Clippers found a hot streak to seek to come back in the game, even within one point, the defensive performance of Rudy Gobert and Bojan Bogdanovic was dominant in preserving the result, while the Angelenos missed their wide shots.
“It will be an uphill battle, but we are optimistic that we can control the situation, go home, take it game by game to try to even the series,” George said.
The previous series in the first round of playoffs, Clippers began losing 0-2 to the Dallas Mavericks. On that occasion, his two starter losses in the series were in Los Angeles. Now the Clippers suffered the setbacks in Utah and hopes to reverse the situation at home.
“We have to give ourselves with everything on the court. We must review what mistakes we made in the first two games and try to minimize them. We still have a lot of struggle within us, we are ready for the challenge ”, stated Kawhi Leonard.
Game 3 will be played this Saturday at Staples Center.