Kawhi Leonard and Paul George combined to score 62 points for the Los Angeles Clippers, knocking off the Utah Jazz for the second-straight game, winning a pivotal Game 4 in L.A. and tying the series at 2-2.
George and Leonard scored a combined 62-plus for the second-straight game as the Clippers grabbed a dominant 118 – 104 win. The Jazz led for only 50 seconds of the game.
The Clippers duo has now scored 20-plus in 11 straight playoff games, good to tie them with Blake Griffin for second all-time in franchise history.
For the second-straight game, they posted their lowest single-game point total of the playoffs.
Donovan Mitchell dropped 37 points, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds. He has put up at least 30 points, 4 assists, and 3 rebounds in each of the 4 games so far in this series. No other Jazz player, however, topped 19 points in scoring.
Sadly, much of this series has been defined by various injuries to key players on both teams.
All-Star Jazz point guard Mike Conley was, yet again, out with a mild right hamstring strain. He has missed every game of this second-round series. His 17.4 points and team-high 8.6 assists per game were again sorely missed by the Jazz.
Despite the Jazz making a run, Leonard did not play the final 4:35 of regulation. On a runout only minutes earlier, Leonard’s right knee seemed to land awkwardly underneath him as he was fouled.
He proceeded to miss both of his free throws, and not look quite right for the remaining 45 seconds of the game that he played until being checked out.
It was officially announced just days ago that Clippers forward Serge Ibaka will have season-ending back surgery. After playing in Games 1 and 2 of their first-round series, Ibaka was shut down for the back injury that kept him out of 30 regular-season games.
Jazz Out of Tune in First Half
The Jazz entered halftime with a 24-point deficit. They had been down by at least 20 for most of the first half.
The team had shot just 35% from the field and 33% from three. Only one Jazz player, Mitchell, had hit double-digits. No one on the team had recorded more than 2 assists, only Bojan Bogdanovic had more than one.]
Three Jazz starters, Rudy Gobert, Royce O’Neale, and Bogdanovic combined to shoot 2-of-8 from the field, with Gobert not recording a single shot attempt.
The Jazz bench went 3-of-15 from the field and 1-of-8 from three. Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson went 2-of-9 with 5 points.
They also struggled on the defensive end, allowing the Clippers to shoot exactly 50% from both the field and distance. Three Clippers had scored 15-plus points, two had 19-plus.
Marcus Morris Catches Fire
Marcus Morris had a monstrous first half for the Clippers. Even with George and Leonard playing at an elite level, Morris led the team in scoring at the half.
He had 22 points on just 8 shots. After entering the games shooting 1-of-16 from beyond the arc, Morris hit all 5 of his 3-point attempts in the first half.
He also got it done on the defensive end. Throughout this series, Morris has spent a significant amount of time guarding Gobert, the Defensive Player of the Year and an All-Star.
Despite that, in Game 4 Morris committed only 1 first-half foul. Gobert shot only 4 free throws the entire game and none in the first half.
George Closes Out the Jazz
Leonard had a spectacular game, going 9-of-19 from the field and scoring 31 points. When he went out, however, the Jazz were in the midst of a 24-to-9 run. They had clawed back into the game and got the deficit to as low as 11 points.
George, however, came up clutch time and time again. He scored 9 fourth-quarter points for the Clippers, all in the final 4 minutes of the game.
Back-to-back Clipper buckets, a three and a tough bank shot, helped stiff-arm the Jazz and get the L.A. crowd back into the game.
Leonard has never lost a playoff series that he has started down 0-2. No team has ever recovered from an 0-2 deficit twice in the same playoff run. The Clippers are poised to do just that, looking for a key Game 5 win.
Game 5 will be at 10:00 pm on Wednesday back in Utah. The Jazz will hope to regain control of the series and continue their 3-game home win streak.