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EMPTYING THE NOGGIN - So much right until it wasn't
By David Locke, Utah Jazz
Summary: This was a crushing loss for the Jazz on a night where almost everything went well until things came undone during a 15-0 run by the Clippers in the fourth quarter. The Jazz lost Game 3, 111-106.
- The team that wins Game 3 wins the series 74% of the time, so there is no doubt how much this one hurts.
- The Jazz did so many things well tonight. They got off to a great start, led by Hayward’s incredible first quarter. They got a superstar game they needed from Gordon Hayward and played with better spacing, take 34 3-point shots. Dang it. They did so many things well tonight and then the drought happened.
- The Jazz went cold at the 7:50 mark of the fourth quarter. They got stuck in isolation basketball and the Jazz are not a good isolation team (27th in the NBA this season). They went over five minutes without a field goal and Chris Paul took over the game in that stretch. The Clippers went on a 15-0 run and that won the game for the Clippers.
- Chris Paul finished with 34 points. His understanding of time and score is remarkable. In the first half with the game seemingly slipping away, he willed the Clippers back into the game on two occasions. With Blake Griffin out, Paul took 15 shots in the second half. He is the best in the NBA at what he does and it showed tonight.
- Gordon Hayward had a remarkable night. He set a Jazz playoff record with 21 points in a quarter to open the game. He finished with 40 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists. He scored 40 points on 21 shots. He went to the line 11 times. He was outstanding. The Jazz ran a ton of actions and got him on back doors, got him freed off Favors picks and found ways to get him space. Hayward picked up his second foul early in the quarter and Quin Snyder decided to roll with him and he made that move look remarkable.
- Derrick Favors played a season high 38 minutes against DeAndre Jordan. Derrick has never wanted to be a center. He has always said he is not a center. This series, he is matching up against the biggest center in the NBA and the wear and tear is evident.
- Blake Griffin went out of the game late in the second quarter. The problem with this is it means the Clippers’ offense becomes almost exclusively pick and roll with Chris Paul, and the Jazz are not defending that action very well. They tried a little bit of everything tonight and I don’t think they found an answer. Favors is not capable of playing a drop big and defend the rim from DeAndre Jordan. The hedging or playing the pick roll square have not been a great answer.
- Raul Neto played the back-up point guard minutes in the second half and made two huge shots (for 5 points) in three minutes.
- The Jazz put a lot of focus on floor spacing and getting open catch-and-shoot looks over the last few days and they got 34 3-point attempts tonight. Many of them were catch-and-shoot. There were great adjustments to how the Jazz were running some actions.
- This was a purely offensive game. Both teams had offensive ratings over 120. The Jazz figured out how to score on the Clippers tonight, something that has been an issue through the year. The adjustments made by Quin Snyder were terrific.
- George Hill got his offense going tonight hitting on 9 of 15 and 4 of 6 from 3 for 26 points.
- The Jazz switched defensive assignments with Joe ingles guarding Chris Paul and George Hill guarding JJ Redick. Redick stayed quiet again tonight going just 2 for 5.
- Jamal Crawford got rolling for a stint in the third quarter and it gave the Clippers a bounce they haven’t been getting. He hit three straight shots.
- The Jazz led the game by 13 at the end of the first quarter, by nine at the half, by two points heading to the fourth and lost by give. The Clippers swung the game 18 points in the final 36 minutes but almost all of it was in the 15-0 run in the fourth quarter.
- Chris Paul had 10 points and 0 assists in the fourth quarter
- The crowd was amazing. The building had an energy 45 minutes before tipoff and it never stopped. Five years of waiting for this night and the fan base showed its best performance.
- This one stings. To win the series, the Jazz have to win another one back in LA now. The Jazz got an all-time performance from Gordon Hayward, they found a way to score on the Clippers and Chris Paul was still too good to be denied.
- See you Sunday.