LOS ANGELES – The Clippers defeated the Utah Jazz 99-91 Tuesday night in a sort-of must-win situation to tie their best-of-seven series at one game apiece.
Showing the grit needed to win a playoff series, DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin dominated the paint on both ends of the floor to lead the turnaround from Game 1. The Jazz – again without center Rudy Gobert – struggled to find any sort of consistency on the offensive end.
“We had to win tonight. We wanted to win the first game, but we didn’t,” Jordan said after the game. center DeAndre Jordan. “We just take each day a game at a time, and just play, man. We can’t go back and fix it so we just got to go with it and worry about Game 3.”
Jordan led the way from tipoff, scoring 10 of his 18 points in the first quarter. He also had 15 rebounds.
“We had two days of being [upset],” Griffin said. “It’s never fun coming in and watching film after that Game 1 loss. We had a good practice [Monday]. I thought our spirit was great.” Griffin finished with 24 points and Chris Paul chipped in with 21 points and 10 assists.
More importantly, it his late-game control that sealed the game, scoring seven of his 21 in the final period.
“He was good through adversity, which I thought was really good,” Rivers said about Paul. “He got in foul trouble early. And we weathered that storm as a team, I thought it never threw him off.”
The Clippers took care of the ball remarkably well Tuesday night, recording just 11 turnovers against a stifling defense, even without Gobert in the paint.
Game 3 is Friday in Salt Lake City.
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