Clippers even series with Jazz

Blake Griffin is averaging 25 points and six rebounds while Chris Paul is averaging 23 points and 10.5 assists.

The Clippers managed to get a 12 point lead at the end of the first quarter, behind some fantastic dunks which were what earned the team's nickname as "Lob City", years ago.

"It's probably one of the most important games we've had all year", he said. "Our spirit was great, and I think it just carried over into the first quarter, with everybody being aggressive". We know blowing 3-1 leads is a new and fun trend in the league nowadays, but coming back to LA and needing to win three straight is not an option. "We didn't necessarily back down or not play, but I thought they played with an intensity and a level from the very beginning of the game that was. impressive". Heading into Game 2, the Clippers coaching staff harped on the need to push the ball aggressively and not allow the Utah defense to get set. The shooting guard managed just seven points and took only six shots, converting three, in the opener.

"We've got to do a better job starting with myself - got to do a better job of taking care of the basketball and making some shots", Westbrook said.

Utah's rising-star center Rudy Gobert still has no timetable on his return after injuring his knee in game one.

They scored in the paint in numerous ways. Jazz coach Quin Snyder said his team needs to step up defensively in other ways to deal with Gobert's absence. "Under the circumstances, I think he's in a good place and his focus is on trying to get back as quickly as he can", Snyder said.

It will be the Jazz, not the Clippers, with the home-crowd energy in Game 3 Friday night. Two free throws by Los Angeles' Jamal Crawford, who finished with 10 points, with 13.4 seconds remaining capped the scoring.

Harden also had nine assists and seven rebounds, and Patrick Beverley had a playoff career-best 21 points along with 10 rebounds for the Rockets. Jordan picked up Griffin's poor rebounding play, by snagging 15 rebounds and scoring 18 points on 81.8% shooting.

Griffin had a couple of his massive dunks and Paul executed alley-oops to Jordan that Clippers' fans can't seem to get exhausted of. It's the Jazz's first home playoff game since the 2011-12 season.

Griffin took a page out of Paul's repertoire and buried a 3-pointer from the left corner, extending the Clippers' lead to 97-88 with 1:35 to play. If they went down 0-2 they would be all but finished in this series. They are 44-39 against the over/under overall, but 26-15 on the road.

The books have initially given a slight advantage to the home team, but after it was confirmed that Rudy Gobert will indeed miss at least this game, the handicap changed sides and it's the Clippers who are a -114 moneyline favorite at the moment.

"He is helping us score", Rivers said. This goes without saying, but it's imperative that LA goes into Salt Lake City and gets at least one themselves.

  • Julie Sanders