A NAIL BITER IN STAPLES CENTER
We knew this Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Clippers matchup was going to be physical and a close one, but last second shot close? Nobody really expected that. Especially the part where the Jazz steal the first game on the road.
With less than a minute left and after a tough layup from Chris Paul (to give the Clippers the go-ahead bucket), Quin Snyder and the Jazz opted not to call a timeout. After CP3 scored, Utah pushed the ball up the court with only 12 seconds left and Joe Johnson got it across midcourt, then went one-on-one against Jamal Crawford. He crossed it and took it straight to the hole, going over the top of DeAndre Jordan, getting the bounce and making the shot as the buzzer went off.
STAPLES Center was stunned.
Johnson finished the game with 21 points, but the last two were the most important.
Not to mention the fact Utah played the entire game without their defensive stopper Rudy Gobert, who went down with 10 seconds into the first quarter.
Initial reports say he hyperextended his knee and has a bone bruise, but his ACL and MCL are in tact. There is still no time table for his return, or whether he will even be coming back this series.
After the game, ISO JOE said the young squad fighting is what kept them in this one, and they have to bring that energy for the rest of the series if they want to move on to the next round. He knows it’ll be tough without their big man, but if they put up a fight, it will keep them in the hunt for an upset and first round exit for the Clippers.
“I think it was very motivating considering the fact that he’s a big part of what we do, especially defensively. You know, I think we felt and knew that a lot of people probably were counting us out when he went down, but man, we stuck together, fought hard for 48 minutes; we had ups and downs, but at the end of the day we came out with a win.”
Coach Doc Rivers was clearly not pleased with the questions at the post-game press conference, ripping one of the reporters for his opinion on what the team could have done differently during that possession where Paul scored to tie the game.
His face during that question pretty much said it all.
FINAL: UTAH 97 | LAC 95