“They performed Recreation 7 two days in the past, it’s all how we begin this quarter!” he shouted to his teammates. “They’ll name it quits and prepare for Recreation 2 if we make them!”
The Clippers’ depth didn’t name it quits, however, within the wake of one of the emotional wins in franchise historical past in opposition to Dallas on Sunday, the whole lot else certainly failed them.
Their legs stop. Their taking pictures stop. Their protection stop. And finally, the Recreation 7 hangover gave them a splitting headache that made their ultimate possession a disorganized give up right into a 112-109 loss in a recreation they may have stolen.
The Jazz gained the opener of this second-round sequence regardless that they missed 20 consecutive photographs within the first quarter, bricked 33 three-point makes an attempt, trailed by 13 at halftime and allowed the Clippers one ultimate doubtlessly tying possession with 15.9 seconds left.
Earlier than that possession, Tyronn Lue had a timeout. The Clippers coach didn’t name it. The most effective three-point taking pictures staff within the league with one of the clutch shooters within the league had an opportunity to arrange a tying shot, however as an alternative selected to play on.
Rajon Rondo handed it to Kawhi Leonard, who handed it to Paul George, who handed it again to Leonard, who was swarmed by Joe Ingles, so Leonard tossed it to Marcus Morris Sr. within the nook.
Rudy Gobert, the Jazz’s 7-foot heart who would have probably been faraway from the sport if a timeout had been referred to as, was standing in Morris’ face, blocked his shot and ended the sport.
The crammed crowd at Salt Lake Metropolis’s Vivint Enviornment continued to roar, the Clippers’ shoulders slumped and an ideal alternative to swipe a series-opening win was misplaced.
“We’ve obtained to be able to struggle for a full 48 minutes the subsequent recreation,” stated Clippers reserve guard Luke Kennard.
Over the subsequent two days they’ll certainly be reminded of their 0-8 document in convention semifinal sequence through the franchise’s 51 NBA seasons. They will even be made conscious of the Jazz’s 32-6 document at house this season, and the way they have to buck that pattern at the least as soon as to win this sequence.
And, yeah, Lue is perhaps requested once more about that timeout nonetheless tucked away in his pocket.
The Clippers coach adamantly defended his determination to not cease the motion after Rondo rebounded a Donovan Mitchell miss, noting that he didn’t wish to give the league’s best protection time to determine issues out.
“I simply thought getting a cease and getting down on a break with Gobert on the ground was going to generate an open three. … That’s one of the best time to attempt to get a 3 particularly when a staff doesn’t know if they’ll foul or what they’ll do coming down in transition,” he stated.
It was an acceptable ending for a staff that merely ran out fuel. The seven video games in opposition to the Dallas Mavericks have been an excessive amount of. The 2-day turnaround from their near-perfect Recreation 7 win in opposition to the Mavericks was too brief. The Clippers got here out slugging, however when the Jazz punched again, they too usually dropped their gloves.
“I believed their physicality within the second half picked up … getting it to us and being bodily and we didn’t match that physicality on the offensive finish,” stated Lue.
The Jazz outscored them by 16 in that second half, with extra rebounds, extra free throws and 32 second-half factors from doing-whatever-he-wanted Mitchell, who scored 16 factors within the third quarter and 45 for the sport.
Even their followers picked up the tempo, taunting George with chants of “Playoff P!” and “Overrated” when he was on the free-throw line.
Halfway by means of the fourth quarter, with the Clippers committing dumb fouls, making a few foolish turnovers and lacking 60% of their photographs, the Jazz took a 10-point lead that was finally an excessive amount of to beat.
“This was a troublesome one,” stated Kennard, who was a vibrant spot for a second straight recreation with 18 factors.
The same old Clippers stars have been no match for Mitchell, who continually acquired mid-game recommendation from that new Jazz co-owner Dwyane Wade, who was sitting courtside.
“I frequently ask him what he sees,” stated Mitchell.
Hey, Anthony Anderson, once you’re sitting courtside at Clippers video games, do you see something? How about you, Steve Ballmer? Anyone? Benefit Jazz.
“There’s a saying that it’s, like, by any means essential,” stated Mitchell. “And I feel that’s what you see from a variety of us tonight.”
In the meantime, the Clippers didn’t do what was essential, that means that their two stars didn’t actually shine.
Leonard wasn’t as aggressive or efficient as traditional, lacking greater than half of his photographs, attending to the foul line solely twice and recording a team-low minus-12 when he was on the courtroom.
“There’s no excuses,” Leonard stated.
George pulled his traditional postseason disappearing act with only one basket by means of three quarters and making solely 4 in 17 photographs for the sport.
“I simply didn’t shoot the ball,” stated George. “Reality of the matter, I didn’t shoot the ball properly tonight, however I’ll have a greater method.”
Reggie Jackson was largely ineffective and fouled out, whereas Patrick Beverley, Terance Mann and Rondo provided little reduction, combining to shoot 5 for 14 from the sector.
“They have been in desperation mode and taking part in arduous and hustling far more than us,” stated George.
So it’s all due to the Recreation 7 hangover, proper? This isn’t in regards to the Clippers being the identical previous Clippers, is it? The exclamation-point ending for one staff was a query mark for the opposite.
Earlier than the sport, in a blast from the previous, Jazz coach Quin Snyder took a direct shot on the complete Clippers group, overtly accusing them of tanking the ultimate two video games of the common season to keep away from a second-round sequence in opposition to the Lakers.
The Clippers sat their stars, misplaced video games to Houston and Oklahoma Metropolis, and wound up because the fourth seed within the bracket with top-seeded Utah.
“Clearly, we’re a matchup the Clippers felt was advantageous to them,” stated Snyder.
The Clippers didn’t take the bait.
“No, I’m not offended by something, I heard all of it,” Lue stated. “However we didn’t even know. … We needed to get previous the primary spherical first to even get to them. So if he desires to make use of it as bulletin-board materials for his staff, then that’s simply the way in which he has to do it. I don’t fear about that stuff, although.”
Whether or not the Clippers wished the Jazz or not, properly, they’ve obtained them. One recreation down, and now they have to determine what to do with them.
This story initially appeared in Los Angeles Instances.