Utah's Gobert sprains left knee on 1st play of game

However, the Jazz kept scrapping, going to a small-ball lineup with 35-year-old former All-Star Joe Johnson manning the four.

In their first playoff appearance since 2012 the Utah Jazz have capped off a tight 97-91 game one win over the Los Angeles Clippers after losing starting centre Rudy Gobert in the first play of the game.

An imposing presence inside for Utah, Gobert led the National Basketball Association (NBA) with 2.6 blocked shots per game during a breakout season that saw him average 14 points and 12.8 rebounds. We lost, I think, most of the series, the home games. Johnson finished with 21 points off the bench and Hill added 16 points.

The Clippers' efforts went to waste but the play that knotted up the game may have been the right call at that point. Gobert was setting a pick for Hayward when he and Mbah a Moute collided.

Gobert attempted to get back to his feet several times before being helped into the locker room by team mates.

Next up for the Jazz will be determining the severity of Gobert's injury.

Let's start there. Don't ever forget that Johnson could, and apparently still can, get buckets with the best of him when so motivated to do so. "At least it's something where I know I'm coming back". "Now, we're just trying to have a good couple of days of practice, and get ready for the playoffs". "There's nothing we did that was creative or smart, we just chose to play it that way, and what we did is we had a player that made a play, and that's usually what it comes down to".

However, it was anything but easy as the Cavs, who had a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, had to withstand a strong comeback by the Pacers.

DeAndre Jordan had 10 points and 15 rebounds. His only points came off of two free throws. Redick said Sunday about conversations coach Doc Rivers has had in the past about adverse situations. "In some ways, that helped them". It's the last thing that they want.

As pessimistic as I am about the Clippers advancing, there really is still hope. "It was a insane series". "L.A. was closed. We couldn't find anywhere to practice".

Ironically, Gobert had only missed one game all season, and injured his knee at the exact moment the rest of the Jazz players were finally (mostly) healthy. Although he shows flashes of greatness and has the length to shut down LA's deadly guards, experience and composure are critical to postseason success and he doesn't have either at this point in time.

LOS ANGELES When injuries had decimated the Clippers and they were left among the playoff dead, one bloodied face rose from the rubble to keep the fight alive in last year's first- round series against the Portland Trail Blazers.

  • Leroy Wright