Hayward lifts Jazz while the Clippers face yet another early round exit
Like I previous stated this series would be the most intriguing to me. I had a pretty good feeling that the Utah Jazz would give the Los Angeles Clippers problems offensively and defensively left and right and it quickly started in Game 1 with Joe Johnson hitting a buzzer beater to silence the home crowd. That to me is when the momentum quickly favored the Jazz. Yes the Clippers tied it and eventually went up 2-1, but everybody already knows what the Clippers are going to do, and the way they game plan getting at least one game early on for the Jazz on the road was the key to this series.
Obviously there’s still a lot of basketball to be played. For all I know this can easily turn into a seven game series and we see a Warriors/Clippers semi-conference match-up, but how boring would that be? Blake Griffin is out for the rest of the post-season with an injured toe, and injuries have pretty much summed up the 2016-17 Clippers season. Despite that in Game 5 the Clippers came out on fire taking an early 7-0 lead, but not for long with the Jazz storming back to go on a 11-0 run as they took the lead.
This highly competitive tight contest featured eight lead changes all the way until half-time. As a Clippers fan I’d be questioning some of the adjustments that were made– Raymond Felton would have his minutes cut by Doc Rivers which is a huge head scratcher even for a non fan after seeing how he was torching the Jazz in first four games. That move was made in order to play his son Austin Rivers, oh and most notable he would go to shoot 0-for-4 and finished with two points. Jamal Crawford didn’t help either by shooting 2-for-8, but on a positive Chris Paul continued to play like the super star he is. J.J. Reddick finally snapped out of his slump and finished with 26 points, and the Clippers as a team did a nice job defensively, but failed to hit on some of their open looks they had.
For the Jazz they also responded loudly on defense forcing turnovers which isn’t common for this team, they scored in transition and would score 14 easy points off of that effort. What was more impressive was how Gordon Hayward turned into an absolute monster scoring 27 points, as the Clippers had no answer for him regardless of who they stuck on him. Make no doubt about it this game was close with the Jazz pulling away 96-92, but two road wins is probably going to be what is talked about when asked what went wrong with the Clippers.