Playoffs 2021

NBA Playoffs 2021: LA Clippers 'blitzing' defence stifles Donovan Mitchell in Game 3

Donovan Mitchell scored at least 30 for the fifth straight game, the Jazz knocked down 19 3-pointers as six players scored nine or more points, and yet, Utah lost Game 3 by 26 points (132-106).

One clear difference in Game 3 was the Clippers improved, aggressive and physical play on both ends, especially on defence and primarily on Mitchell.

"I hadn't seen a double like that since high school," Mitchell said postgame of Clippers' guarding him high above the 3-point line.

"They did a good job of it but for me, it was just trying to find ways to get my teammates involved. I was able to make those plays, make those reads throughout the course of the game. Seeing where the double was coming from then, also flipping it and finding my spots to attack."

After torching them for 41.0 points on 52.5 percent shooting from the field, the Clippers were able to hold Mitchell scoreless in the first period but he responded to drop 16 in the second quarter.

In the end, he still finished with 30 but it came on 11-of-24 shooting from the field (45.8 percent).

"For me, that was the main focus," Mitchell continued. "They are probably going to do it again, so I got to get ready for it."

MORE: Mitchell exits Game 3 early with injury

"They turned it up with their physicalness and aggressiveness," Joe Ingles said postgame. "Biggest difference is they played a lot more small, double-teaming Donovan, blitzing him … We were still prepared for it, but we didn't execute it."

Despite the defence on the young superstar guard being a huge talking point, Jazz players and coach Quin Snyder cited their turnovers and 3-point defence as key areas to improve ahead of Game 4.

Utah had 16 turnovers and 15 assists in the game, a rare occasion where the assists/turnovers ratio less than 1.0 whereas, the Jazz averaged 23.7 assists and 14.2 turnovers in the regular season, and 20.4 assists and 13.4 turnovers in the postseason.

"Those decisions need to be better," Jazz head coach Snyder said postgame. "Also, when we did have good reads, we didn't have passes that we're good enough."

The Jazz had let up on both ends of the floor as they allowed the Clippers to record shooting splits of 56.2 percent from the field, 52.8 percent from 3-point range and 81.3 percent at the charity stripe.

"They shot the ball really well from 3," recently crowned defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert said postgame. "We've got make sure that we don't give them the open ones, got to make sure we don't allow them to score in transition or get offensive rebounds."

Each game in this series will be played with just a day-off in-between, so both teams need to rebound and come up with adjustments quickly, with Game 4 scheduled for Monday, June 14 at 10:00 p.m ET.

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