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Utah Jazz Beat LA Clippers At The Buzzer To Steal Game 1, Lose Rudy Gobert To Injury

Utah Jazz

Blake Griffin (left) started off hot, but could not keep the momentum going as the Los Angeles Clippers drop Game 1 to the Utah Jazz 97-95. (Mark J. Terrill / AP Photo)

The final game on the first day of the NBA Playoffs proved to be must-see television. Despite losing Rudy Gobert to a knee injury within the first 20 seconds of the game, the Utah Jazz outlasted the Los Angeles Clippers 97-95 to take Game 1 thanks to a buzzer-beater floater from the ageless Joe Johnson. Check out the final seconds.

Utah had about as bad of a start as one could imagine. While the team didn’t play terribly in the first quarter, they did suffer a big injury 17 seconds in. In the time it takes to open a bag of popcorn to put in the microwave, potential All-NBA center Rudy Gobert went down with a left knee injury and was assisted over to the sideline, not putting any weight on his leg.

Initially, the Los Angeles Clippers exploited their new advantage. DeAndre Jordan had much more room to operate down low and Blake Griffin was scoring at will in the first half. Chris Paul helped exploit this as well, as the Jazz had difficulty covering the two Clippers big men. However, Utah’s tough defense played a pivotal part in slowing down Los Angeles in the second half.

While Gobert’s status for the rest of the series is up in the air, the grit and fight that the Jazz possess is not up for debate. Derrick Favors, Jeff Withey, and Boris Diaw stepped in beautifully to try and replace the Defensive Player of the Year candidate in Gobert. The real hero is obviously Joe Johnson, who provided 21 points on 9-14 shooting in 31 minutes. Favors, in particular, looked gassed in the late stages of the 4th quarter as his minutes were piling up.

For the Los Angeles Clippers, this opening loss is all too familiar. Chris Paul was brilliant with 25 points and 11 assists, including the game-tying layup with 13 seconds left. Blake Griffin started the game off hot, but failed to record a field goal in the 4th quarter and finished with 26 points. With Gobert out, DeAndre Jordan was able to scoop up 15 rebounds too. Austin Rivers is dealing with an injury of his own, so Raymond Felton played a larger role.

The Utah Jazz found a way to steal one at the Staples Center, which would’ve been difficult enough even with their team healthy. The loss of Gobert is going to loom large, assuming he misses more games with the knee injury but Utah has a lot of toughness that simply cannot be coached. For the Clippers, this is yet another playoff misstep that stings. They now have a distinct advantage in the paint with Jordan and Griffin not worrying about Gobert. It is safe to say Game 2 will be a must-win game for the Clippers, who definitely do not want to head to Utah down 2-0.

The post Utah Jazz Beat LA Clippers At The Buzzer To Steal Game 1, Lose Rudy Gobert To Injury appeared first on Def Pen.



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Utah Jazz Beat LA Clippers At The Buzzer To Steal Game 1, Lose Rudy Gobert To Injury

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