Game 1 Recap: Jazz lose Gobert, but win thriller
- Author: Julie Sanders Apr 23, 2017,
Apr 23, 2017, 0:00
He'll likely land on an all-NBA team for the first time.
All that experience is why the Utah Jazz brought him in this season. "That makes no sense", the coach interjected bluntly, shaking his head and adopting the tone of a full-on lecture. Well, things just got more interesting. The Clippers are still REALLY good with Chris Paul.
The incredible crunch time feats of Joe Johnson struck again, delivering a victory for the Utah Jazz over the Los Angeles Clippers, who kicked off the 2017 National Basketball Association playoffs by choking at home, certainly a meme worthy feat. The Clippers are 3-2-1 ATS in their last 6 home games, 4-2 ATS in their last 6 games playing on 2 days rest and 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall. "They played harder. They were more physical, and I mean, what do they say, 'the series don't start until somebody loses at home, ' so I guess the series got started".
Game 1 was 17 seconds long for Gobert, as in the first possession of his playoff career, he banged knees with Luc Mbah a Moute and needed to be carried off the court.
At halftime, Gobert's teammates saw him in street clothes, walking around the locker room, though obviously limping.
Gobert was set to undergo an MRI to determine the extent of the injury. After flaming out in each of the past three playoffs in heartbreaking fashion, the Clippers find themselves facing the prospect of going back to a raucous Salt Lake City trailing by two games if they can't find a way to win Game 2 on Tuesday. As it happens, the Clippers watched their 2016 postseason crumble in the wake of injuries to Paul and Griffin. Then, in the second half, Johnson spent a lot of time guarding Blake Griffin and effectively stifling him in the post. Johnson's statline was impressive, 21 points on 9-14 shooting, including 3-4 from distance, in 31 minutes off the bench. Throwing rim-protection out the window against the frontline of DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin is a major no-no.
"In those moments of the game, guys are not going to help", said Johnson of his clutch performances over the last decade.
Not only did Jazz coach Quin Snyder keep Johnson on the floor, the coach refused to call timeout after Chris Paul tied the game at 95-all with 13 seconds left, electing to keep the Clippers from setting up defensively. There was no hesitation or hurry from the veteran forward, who worked his way into the frontcourt and sized up the defense. The Jazz wanted the ball in either Joe Johnson or Gordon Hayward's hands and they wanted to make Jamal Crawford switch onto the ball and play defense.
The final five seconds were academic, given the match-up and LA's delayed help.