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EMPTYING THE NOGGIN — Jazz fall in Game 2 to Clippers
By David Locke, Utah Jazz
Summary: The Clippers hit the Jazz with a hammer early and the Jazz never could break through and put pressure on and LA, falling in Game 2 — 99-91.
- The Jazz showed a lot of the same fight and resiliency that won them Game 1, but they weren’t able to make enough plays to gain control of the game. They cut the game to six points on six different occasions in the fourth quarter, but were never able to make the Clippers feel the heat. It would have been really interesting to see if the Clippers would have gotten tight.
- The Jazz had three shots that felt like they would have changed the game that were all great looks and they didn’t go. George Hill had a half wide open transition 3 at the end of the first that would have cut it to four points. At 8:44 in the fourth quarter, Joe Johnson got a great look that would have cut it to four points but missed, and with 5:51 left Hayward had a great look off of an Ingles steal that would have cut it to three points.
- The Clippers played with great force early in the game. They came out a ball of fire, ran the floor and played with great tempo. This subsided as the game went on, but it will be interesting to see if they can maintain it at altitude. They came out like a team playing to survive.
- Chris Paul is the best player in this series, Blake Griffin might be the second best and that is going to be a really tough issue for the Jazz throughout the series. Paul is particularly tough. He has seen everything that a team can throw at him. He is able to get where he wants to go on the floor despite the Jazz trying to work him into his weaknesses.
- DeAndre Jordan was a beast tonight. He was able to get behind the defense and play above the rim. He had seven dunks. This is certainly a case of not having Rudy Gobert. Derrick Favors does a ton of things well, but he is not great at protecting the rim in the drop pick-and-roll coverage. I am not sure how the Jazz solve this issue the rest of the series without Rudy.
- One other area of concern is the Jazz only got three offensive rebounds in the game tonight. It is really hard for the Jazz to have a good offensive night without some action on the offensive glass. The offensive rating tonight was a 103. It probably needs to be over 108 to win games in this series, maybe 100 without Rudy. If the Jazz could get one more offensive rebound a quarter and convert three of them, they hit that number. With Rudy, the offensive rebounding is a large part of the Jazz’s offense. Without it, the Jazz move from an average offense to a below average offensive team. The catch is the Jazz are really trying to get back defensively.
- I loved that the Jazz got a bunch of 3-point looks tonight. This has been a real problem for the Jazz in their five games versus the Clippers. If the Jazz can start to get those shots off, then their margin for having a good night is greater. The Jazz took 25 of 70 shots (36%) from behind the arc. This is a big development for the rest of the series.
- The Clippers defended Joe Johnson a bit differently, digging more and not letting him have as much space.
- The Clippers are really missing Austin Rivers. If he returns, it is a big advantage for the Clippers.
- Jamal Crawford and JJ Redick went 5 of 19 from the field. These guys have really been struggling in the last 11 playoff games for the Clippers. It’s a bad script for LA.
- The Clippers’ starting lineup is the second best five-man lineup in the NBA and they were +12 tonight with the starters on the floor and -4 when they were off.
- A huge stretch of the game was closing the first half when Chris Paul got his third foul and in the final 3:33 with Paul on the bench the Clippers stretched the lead by one rather than the Jazz making inroads to make the game close.
- The Clippers had 60 points in paint after having 40 in Game 1.
- This is going to be really tough without Gobert. It takes away a lot of the Jazz’s offense with the rim-rolls and the offensive rebounding, not to mention his impact on defense. I haven’t looked at the numbers, but the Jazz have not shown they can defend when Withey is at center in this series.
- If the Jazz continue to play that hard and with that focus, they have a chance in this series. This was a good performance with a lot of positives.
- Be loud Friday.