LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Clippers finished with a 132-106 win over the Utah Jazz on Saturday at Staples Center, which bore implications for two reasons.
The Clippers trimmed Jazz’s second-round series lead to 2-1 entering Game 4 on Monday at Staples Center. The Clippers also avoided facing a 3-0 deficit, which is something no NBA team has ever overcome in the league’s playoff history. The Clippers and Jazz will play Game 5 in Salt Lake City on Wednesday.
Clippers forwards Kawhi Leonard (34 points on 14-of-24 shooting) and Paul George (31 on 12-of-24 shooting) led the way after having relatively quiet performances in the first two games against the Jazz. George had averaged 23.5 points on 34% shooting, while Leonard had averaged 22 points on a 47.3% clip.
Utah guard Donovan Mitchell countered with 30 points on 11-of-24 shooting after missing his first three shots and remaining scoreless until the 7:34 mark of the second quarter. But he missed the final 7:05 after possibly fearing pain in his previously injured right ankle. The Jazz still had Joe Ingles (19 points), Jordan Clarkson (14), Rudy Gobert (12) and Royce O’Neale (12) in double figures.
But the Clippers countered with the tandem of Leonard and George, along with Reggie Jackson and Nicolas Batum (17 points each). Jazz guard Mike Conley missed a third consecutive game because of right hamstring soreness.