SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – It’s by far, the biggest game of the season.
The Jazz and Clippers are all tied up at two games a piece, with each team winning both games on their home floor, going into a critical Game 5 Wednesday night at Vivint Arena.
“Tomorrow is a big game as they all have been,” said Joe Ingles. “With the score 2-2 now, it’s a 3-game series. We played all regular season to have the home court advantage to represent our fans and our organization at home. We’ve got that opportunity.”
The Jazz are 4-1 on their home floor in the playoffs.
“They won two games on their home floor, said Donovan Mitchell, who is averaging 37 points per game in the series. “They took care of home court, but so did we. So it’s on us now to be the aggressor, take care of home court and go from there.”
“We’ve got to stay connected and stay together,” added Bojan Bogdanovic. “They did what they’re supposed to do, they won two games at home. Now, it’s our turn.”
The Jazz definitely need to start the game better. In the last two games, the Clippers have had 15 and 20 point halftime leads. Plus, the Jazz put up a season-low 13 points in the first quarter in Game 4.
“I think we just got a bit stagnant in the first half,” Ingles said. “I don’t think we necessarily played on the back foot, but we got a big stagnant.”
“They were at a different level, and we couldn’t buy a bucket” Mitchell said. “Sometimes that’s the case, but we’ve got to continue to guard.”
“We didn’t distribute the ball in the first quarter like we’re supposed to,” Bogdanovic said. “They had a lot of easy transition points off of our turnovers.”
The Jazz offense got stagnant in Game 4, as they got outscored in fast break points 12-0. On the other end of the floor, offensive rebounding was a huge problem as the Clippers outscored the Jazz in second chance points, 18-1.
“It takes a team effort to keep playing, not stop, not ball watch,” said Rudy Gobert. “It starts with me and it starts with everybody else.”
“Those plays are really deflating,” added head coach Quin Snyder. “When you basically have gotten a stop after the other team misses, then you allow them to get another shot.”
“We shot ourselves in the foot a few times with turnovers,” Mitchell said. “We’ve got to make that a point of emphasis. Then also our turnovers and transition points. When you see the ball go in in transition, it’s easy to kind of get going. They had three guys with 20 points more I believe. They got going.”
But after falling behind by as many as 29, the Jazz did find some things that worked, cutting the lead down to 10.
“I think we found a few things that will give us an advantage and get us to where we want to go,” Mitchell said. “We started being aggressive. If we can continue to do that and the way we played in the second half in the first, come out in Game 5 and be ready, I think we’ll be in good shape.”
“We know our identity, and we have to continue to play to that,” said Snyder.
A lot of that identity is dependent on Mike Conley. He’s listed as questionable for the fifth straight game with a mild hamstring strain.
“A lot people don’t understand what he means for our team,” Bogdanovic said. “We are missing him big time, but we showed in the first two games that we can play against them and we can beat them.”