Jazz eliminate Clippers to set up conference semis showdown with Warriors

Jazz: Utah is 5-1 all-time when leading a playoff series 3-2.

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill).

The Jazz enter having played their best game of the postseason in Game 7. Another Warrior who doesn't care if he was headed to Los Angeles, Utah or really outer space?

Sunday's deciding game seven went in favour of the Jazz, who beat the Los Angeles Clippers 104-91 on the road in the Western Conference.

After the series win, Hayward said, "We've been through some pretty hard downs".

He was referring to Paul's injuries at the beginning of that 2015 Houston series, and Paul and Griffin both leaving last year's Portland series in Game 3, and then Griffin's toe injury in this series, which accompanied A. Rivers' hamstring problems.

Clippers centre DeAndre Jordan scored 24 points and had 17 rebounds while Paul had 13 points and nine assists. Jamal Crawford added 20 points off the bench. At the very least, teams will now have to do extensive background on Griffin's injury history, his most recent included.

"We prefer to keep playing", Jazz forward Joe Johnson said.

"Late, when we did start scoring, we couldn't get stops", Paul said.

Rudy Gobert played only 13 minutes before fouling out in the fourth quarter.

After Gobert picked up his second foul just three minutes into the game, Favors took the floor as the key to Utah's playoff hopes-and he responded with one of his strongest games of the season. He got 11 rebounds, including four offensive ones.

"I was struggling a lot this season with injuries and my teammates had to hold it down for me", Favors said.

Armed with home court advantage, the fourth-seeded Clippers zoomed to a 2-0 lead against the Grizzlies.

The Clippers got bogged down with a shot-clock turnover, a delay of game warning and Redick's airball on a 3-point attempt while the home crowd went silent. It was much bigger than the Jazz's.

Gordon Hayward led the way with a game-high 26 points with eight rebounds and three assists.

The core nucleus of the Los Angeles Clippers have been together for a while now, as they have made the postseason in six straight seasons, with the last four coming under current head coach Doc Rivers. The Clippers scored 15 in the second quarter, allowing the Clippers to have just 65 points per 100 possessions in the period. J.J. Redick - who made one basket in Game 7 - becomes a free agent.

The Jazz went 18-for-23 (78.3 percent) from the free-throw line, including 14-for-16 (87.5 percent) in the second half. Beyonce and Jay Z sat courtside behind sunglasses.

On the radio side, 95.7 The Game and the Warriors Radio Network will broadcast every Conference Semifinals contest of the Warriors-Jazz series, with play-by-play man Tim Roye once again calling the action and Jim Barnett providing analysis.

"It's unusual", Jazz coach Quin Snyder said.

Paul Pierce's 19-year National Basketball Association career came to an end at the final buzzer.

"The whole series was a battle and tonight was no different but it was fun out there", Hayward told ABC America post game. Despite feeling shaky and weak-legged, he returned in Game Five to score 27 points in another victory.

Game 2: Wizards at Celtics, 5 p.m.

Durant should be fully healthy from a strained left calf that sidelined him the first three games against the Trail Blazers.

  • Julie Sanders