Just days after their loss in Salt Lake City, the LA Clippers got their revenge over the Utah Jazz. Doc Rivers’ side was victorious at the Staples Center last night, beating the visitors after a comeback in the final period. The final result was 105-94.
Coming into the final period, Jazz had a four-point lead, 69-65, which was even bigger during the third sequence. With 3:55 left in that quarter, Utah reached a 10-point edge following Tony Bradley’s two-pointer. Those were the moments when Clippers’ offense completely stopped, not being able to score for more than four and a half minutes.
But when you have Kawhi Leonard on your side, everything is much easier. The hosts dropped 40 on the Jazzers in the last 12 minutes, allowing 25 points. From those 40, 18 points were Leonard’s, and he not only delivered buckets but was also making big plays, which boosted the morale of his teammates.
— NBA (@NBA) November 4, 2019
The Claw was 9 of 26 from the field and was struggling badly until the final period. Still, eventually, he appeared and delivered the fatal blows to Utah.
“Part of his shooting, or ease of shooting is us making more shots,” Rivers explained that once other players began splashing, the Jazzers stopped double-teaming Kawhi. “More shots we make, the less help they can bring on him.”
The game was full of lead changes, and one minute the fans would see Utah making a run; the next Clippers responded and went up. Visitors reached an 11-2 advantage in a little bit than four minutes, but LA quickly bounced back.
Then in the second, the Jazzers couldn’t score for more than five and a half minutes, and the hosts got away to 36-24. Utah would freeze the Clippers then and restore the lead, but eventually, it was the hosts who had the last laugh.
What was the key reason for Clippers’ win was the rebounding domination. In the last 12 minutes, Utah had just 5 of them, while LA posted 13. Overall, the hosts had 71, while Jazz recorded 49. For the No.1 defensive team in the league, this is a disastrous fact.
“They just wanted it more on the boards, and that’s what ended up costing us the game,” Donovan Mitchell said in the locker room after the game. “We just have to make it more of an urgency. They were the aggressor, and we’ve just got to find a way to combat that.”
He was the only bright spot among the guests, and with 36 points presented the constant problem for his rivals. Mitchell was shooting 11 of 21 from the field, 4 of 6 from downtown, and had 6 assists. Bojan Bogdanovic was solid support with 19 buckets.
The only one who had a double-double for the Jazz was Rudy Gobert with 12 points and 14 boards.
For the hosts, Kawhi dropped 30 with 6 rebounds. Harrell had 19 off the bench, with 8 boards, while Lou Williams added 17. Ivica Zubac posted 11 and 9 boards in 18 minutes, and we might say that the young Croat really improved a lot, and that the Clippers might hit the jackpot with this guy.
The Clippers (5-2) have two big games at home coming up. The first is this Wednesday, against the Milwaukee Bucks, whom Kawhi eliminated with the Raptors in the Eastern Conference finals last year. Giannis already beat the Claw’s former team, and now probably wants to do the same against the Finals MVP. After this event, Portland Trail Blazers are coming to Staples the night after.
Utah (4-3) will also face Milwaukee, only on Friday, but before that, they have another big fish from the East, the 76ers. This game is on this Wednesday.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.