LOS ANGELES (ABC4 Sports) – The Jazz dug themselves a huge hole, down 29 points in the second quarter. A fourth quarter rally was not enough as the Clippers even the series heading into Game 5 in Salt Lake City.
After grabbing a quick 2-0 lead on a Bojan Bogdanovic dunk, the Clippers scored the next 10 points and never looked back.
Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, and Marcus Morris took the game over early. Morris was the Clipper leading scorer at halftime with 22 points making all five of his three point attempts.
“We’re trying to be aggressive as well as being aggressive for others. It’s a healthy mix to be able to do both,” said George.
The highlight of the night came late in the second quarter when Leonard drove around Royce O’Neale and dunked over Derrick Favors to give the Clippers a 62-38 lead.
Utah’s offense other than Donovan Mitchell struggled in the first half. Mitchell had 21 points, the rest of the Jazz combined for 23 points as Los Angeles went into the break with a commanding 68-44 lead.
“We were playing hard. We were competing. We weren’t playing smart in that we weren’t connected,” Utah coach Quin Snyder said. “That showed with the 13-point first quarter that we were trying to attack, but we weren’t attacking as much we weren’t putting ourselves in situations where we could have success, I think.”
George and Leonard continued to give the Jazz problems in the third quarter, making it hard for Utah to cut into the deficit.
At the end of the third, Utah trailed by 21 points.
The Jazz continued to fight. The shots started to fall and defense allowed them to go on a run that got them within 10 points with 2:15 to go on a Joe Ingles three pointer.
“The way we played in the second half that’s who we are that’s what we do,” said Mitchell. “That second half we need to take that home and play with that same energy.”
That was as close as they would get as Los Angeles went back up 14 points on a couple George free throws.
Utah outscored the Clippers by 10 points in the second half, but they couldn’t come back from the big deficit they left themselves early, losing 118-104.
Los Angeles won the battle of the glass, outrebounding the Jazz by 5.
They also had took advantage of transition points, scoring 12 to Utah’s zero fast break points.
“It starts with our offense, when we take tough shots it’s hard to get back and set our defense,” said Jazz center Rudy Gobert. “We commit fouls, we give up layups. we give up 3’s. It’s a cycle when we play the right way offensively we play better defensively.”
Leonard and George both scored 31 points for the Clippers, the second straight game they both scored over 30 points.
Mitchell continues his scoring run for the Jazz, finishing with 37 points. Making him the first player since Golden State’s Stephen Curry in 2019 to have six straight 30-point games in the playoffs.
Mitchell made 9 of his 26 shots from the field, going 6-15 from beyond the arc.
Ingles scored 19 points, and Bogdanovic poured in 18 for Utah.
Ingles shot the ball well, going 5-7 from downtown. He scored 10 points in the second half.
Jordan Clarkson struggled in Game 4, scoring only eight points on 12 shot attempts.
All-Star Mike Conley missed his fourth straight game because of a mild right hamstring strain.
The series moves back to Utah, as the Jazz will look to defend home court in Game 5 at Vivint Arena on June 16th.