Jun 11, 2021 at 8:09 AM CEST
. / Los Angeles
The Utah Jazz from Donovan Mitchell, which gave a new exhibition with 37 points, they achieved this Thursday the 2-0 in the semifinals of the Western Conference against the Los Angeles Clippers (117-111) after a second game that, like the first, was resolved in the last few moments. Mitchell was a whirlwind attacking the area and from the outside shot during the first half (27 points and 11 of 16 shooting), but in the last two quarters his inspiration weakened somewhat. However, the Jazz accompanied their star in luxury with commendable performances such as those of Jordan Clarkson (24 points) or Rudy Gobert (13 points and 20 rebounds).
Those from Utah, who were the best team in the NBA during the regular season (52-20), organized a real bombardment from the perimeter tonight with 20 triples scored (out of 39 attempts). On the part of the Clippers, who in the first round already rallied 0-2 against the Dallas Mavericks, the most prominent were Reggie Jackson (29 points) and Paul George (27 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists). Kawhi Leonard scored 21 points, but in the fourth quarter he only managed 2 points after suffering the sticky and very worthy defense of Bojan Bogdanovic.
Point guard Mike Conley was out of the Jazz due to physical problems, as was Serge Ibaka in the Clippers, who has not played in his team’s last seven games after a very unfortunate year with injuries. Before the game, Gobert received this season’s NBA Defender of the Year award in front of his audience, marking the third such recognition for the French center in the last four years.
Donovan Mitchell finished the first game with a glorious second half in which he scored 32 points (45 in total) and started the second game just where the previous one ended. Incendiary and unstoppable, the guard hit 8 points without a miss in less than two minutes and forced an early timeout from the Los Angeles Clippers (10-2 with 10.18 to be played).
Utah’s men planted a serious starting defense against the Clippers’ hesitant attack, but a great dunk from Ivica Zubac on Rudy Gobert served to wake up the visitors. The reaction of the Angelenos was based on balancing the intensity of their rivals, with the always hard work of Patrick Beverley from the bench, and thanks to a triple on the horn of Luke Kennard they left the first quarter practically in a draw (30-29).
Jordan Clarkson took over from Mitchell in the Jazz’s offensive production early in the second quarter, but despite the fervor from the perimeter of Clarkson and Mitchell, the Jazz made numerous mistakes that ruined any attempt to break away from firm and balanced. Clippers. However, a final push from the Jazz led by Mitchell sent the game at halftime with a notable difference (66-53) after an excellent first half from the local star (27 points).
The third quarter began with a stampede from the Jazz that threatened to definitively decay the game, but at a time of maximum risk the Clippers knew how to remain calm to shape a third quarter round trip. First the Jazz struck forcefully, who, furious at the restart, drew an advantage of more than 20 points thanks to the valuable contributions of Joe Ingles and Bojan Bogdanovic (76-55 with 9.27 left).
The Clippers responded to the challenge with a hit to the table. Reggie Jackson started the war on his own with great success, Tyronn Lue turned to zone defense and the Jazz suddenly seemed very confused. A tremendous partial 4-25 He articulated the brave reaction of the visitors (85-80 in the absence of 2.34), who are much more comfortable in thick matches, with little fluid rhythm and locked dynamics. At the end of the third quarter, a very dangerous Clarkson resurfaced with two triples to give the Jazz verve (93-86).
The Clippers’ bottom five, a very aggressive tactic against an opponent who has a tower like Gobert, allowed them to continue to get closer on the scoreboard (95-93 with 9.16 left). Burdened by Beverley’s defense, Mitchell reappeared with a talented penetration, but Jackson hit two 3-pointers in a row that, after much suffering, put the Clippers ahead for the first time all night (99-101 with 6.37 to be played) .
The Clippers had everything on their face then after rowing against it throughout the game, but at that moment they disappeared. A fantastic 14-2 run for the Jazz, with Ingles again as a booster for the hot moments, exploited each of the attacking errors of some eager Clippers. Jackson and George returned to the charge against a Leonard annulled by Bogdanovic, but the Jazz, guided by the compass of Mitchell, closed the victory with serenity. The series now travels to Los Angeles (USA), where the third game will be played on Saturday at the Staples Center.