LOS ANGELES (ABC4 Sports) – After having two days off, the Jazz are chomping at the bit for Game 2 of their playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers tonight.
“It’s very exciting,” said Rodney Hood. “There has been a lot of preparation that has been thrown into this game. It’s been a long two days, but we’re excited to get back to playing tonight.
“It was kind of weird having all that down time the last couple of days,” said Gordon Hayward. “You kind of just want to get into that next game. But we’re definitely excited and hopefully we can build off some of the things we did in the first game.”
The Jazz beat the Clippers in Game 1, 97-95, despite playing all but 17 seconds without star center Rudy Gobert. While Gobert will definitely be missed, at least the Jazz have had a couple practices to prepare to play without him.
“You can put guys in to where they’re probably going to be at this time,” Hayward said. “I know in preparation for the first one, some of those guys maybe didn’t think they would be in as much.”
“I think the same thing is true of the Clippers,” said head coach Quin Snyder. “They’re preparing for a team that doesn’t have Rudy too. So, in that sense, both teams will respond.”
“With him being out, you would think it would have been easier, but it really wasn’t,” said Clippers point guard Raymond Felton. “It’s kind of hard to play against a team when they lose one of their top guys because everybody else steps up and plays at another level. So, I almost want him to come back and play.”
Only three teams in NBA playoff history have ever dropped the first two games at home and gone on to win that series. The last team to do it was the Dallas Mavericks in 2005 against the Houston Rockets. So the Clippers know they pretty much have to have this one.
“It’s a must-win,” Felton said. “It’s probably one of the most important games we’ve had all year.”
“We know they’re going to be even more intense, even more physical,” Hayward said. “I think for us it’s a must win too.”
“That’s been the message from coach the whole time,” said Hood. “Just to stay hungry and try to get another one. It’s easy to be complacent.”
The NBA world is still buzzing about Memphis coach David Fizdale’s postgame rant about the officials last night aft the Grizzlies lost to San Antonio. The Jazz haven’t gotten much respect from the refs this year either, but Quin Snyder doesn’t want that to become a focal point.
“I just want us to play well,” Snyder said. “That’s all we need to focus on. There are plenty of plays to focus on beyond a call.”
If the Jazz keep their turnovers down like they did in Game 1 with only 12, and they continue to shoot the ball well (48% in Game 1), they could be coming home with a Staples Center sweep and total command of the series.
Game 2 tips off at 8:30 p.m. mountain time.