Clippers’ Blake Griffin shoots over two members of the Jazz (Harry How/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Clippers could not afford to go down 2-0 heading back to Utah. The stakes were high, no doubt, but the Clippers got the job done by beating the resilient Utah Jazz. 99-91 After the letdown in Game 1, Doc Rivers made adjustments that ultimately leads to the series being tied.

With Jazz center Rudy Gobert not patrolling the paint, the Clippers did the only natural thing: attack the rim. Namely, DeAndre Jordan. The big man had a very efficient game with 18 points and 15 rebounds while “shooting” 81.8%. It was a return to Lob City for the Clippers, who had some emphatic dunks. Overall Los Angeles outscored the Jazz 60-38 in the paint, which made all the difference in the final score.

As a team, the Clippers out-rebounded the Jazz 39-33 and 8-3 on the offensive end. Blake Griffin lead all scorers with 24 points and Chris Paul was effective as always with 21 points and 10 assists. A downside would be the persisting invisibility of J.J. Redick, who continues to have little impact. He finished the game with more fouls (5) than (4) points in 33 minutes.

For the Jazz, there was no set formula after stealing Game 1 at the Staples Center. The loss of defensive anchor Rudy Gobert was glaring in Game 2. Los Angeles exposed this by attacking the paint, forcing Boris Diaw and Derrick Favors to defend their more athletic counterparts very often. It is a tall order to replace a Defensive Player of the Year candidate, but Favors and Diaw, in particular, were no match for Jordan and Griffin. Gobert is unlikely to return for Game 3, so the Jazz will have to come up with something to try and stop the inside attack from Los Angeles.

Gordon Hayward led Utah with 20 points but was 5-15 from the field. Joe Johnson, the hero of Game 1, chipped in 13 points off the bench but also shot poorly. Credit the Clippers defense too, which showed much more prowess in this game than in Game 1.

The Jazz and Clippers will tip off Game 3 in Salt Lake City on Friday, April 21.


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