LOS ANGELES—The Los Angeles Clippers beat the Utah Jazz on Tuesday, April 18, 99-91 at the Staples Center to even their playoff series at 1-1. From the tipoff, the Clippers played with a sense of urgency and controlled the tempo all night.
Point Guard Chris Paul asserted himself, knocking down one shot after another. The offense was humming along; DeAndre Jordan brought the fans to their feet on a reverse Alley-Hoop dunk on a night when the Clippers had 26 assists. The Jazz didn’t stand a chance.
Chris Paul led the team with 21 points and 10 assists, while Jordan scored 18 points on 9/11 FG, and grabbed 15 rebounds. The Jazz already accomplished their goal by stealing Game 1 in Los Angeles. Setting the stage for a pivotal Game 3 on Friday night in Salt Lake City.
It was one of their best defensive performances all year. The effort was on full display, rotating to force numerous turnovers. A 180 degree difference from Saturday night, as Utah struggled from beyond the arc.
Utah, meanwhile, was led by Gordon Hayward, who scored 20 points, but shot just 5-of-15 from the field thanks to the defense of Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. The Clippers never trailed, and perhaps even more important, outscored the Jazz, 60-38 in points in the paint.
In the final two minutes, the Jazz trimmed the lead to six at 94-88. Chris Paul drove to the basket, rolled a bounce pass to Blake Griffin who was standing alone in the corner. His three-point shot proved to be the dagger. Game 3 of this entertaining first round playoff series resumes on Friday, April 21 from Vivant Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City. The game begins at 7:00 p.m., and will air on Prime Ticket.