Playoffs 2021

NBA Playoffs 2021: Kawhi Leonard and Paul George combine for 65 as Clippers blowout Jazz for crucial Game 3 win

For the second straight series, the LA Clippers hit back after going down 2-0, cruising to a comfortable 132-96 win over the Utah Jazz in Game 3.

Behind big games from their superstar duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George - a combined 65 points - the Los Angeles franchise won Game 3 despite the Jazz knocking down 19 3-pointers and finishing with six players with at least nine points.

The win snaps the Jazz's six-game winning streak and makes Game 4 a pivotal contest. Can the Jazz take a decisive 3-1 series lead or will the Clippers tie things up?

Before we look ahead, here are the biggest takeaways from Game 3:

Leonard's second-half takeover

While George carried the Clippers early, Leonard took over in the second half.

Coming off a 10-point first half, where he only shot 4-of-12 from the field, Leonard started the third quarter on fire by scoring (10) or assisting on 13 of the team's first 15 points.

At the final buzzer, 24 of his 34 came in the second half on an incredible 10-of-12 shooting from the field. He also recorded 12 rebounds, five assists and two steals to record his fourth career playoff game with at least 30, 10 and five with three of those four games coming in a Clippers uniform.

Mitchell rebounds from scoreless first quarter

In the six playoff games he had played before this one, Mitchell averaged 32.7 points in 32.6 minutes. In fact, in the first two games of this series, he averaged 41.0 points in 37.9 minutes.

However, with the Clippers forcing his catches higher up, he struggled early in Game 3. He went scoreless in the first quarter but got back on track with a 16-point second quarter.

He finished the game with a team-high 30 in 32 minutes, nearly continuing his streak of scoring more points in fewer minutes.

Paul George steals the show in first half

Starting with their small line-up - George, Leonard, Marcus Morris Sr., Nicolas Batum and Reggie Jackson - things weren't looking great as the Clippers were down 8-0 within the first 1:30 minutes of the game.

However, just like in the Mavericks series when they were facing a deficit (30-11 in Game 3) and were down 2-0, they fought back. They went on a 16-5 run, looked more assertive and led the rest of the game after a couple of lead changes at the halfway mark of the first quarter.

The Clippers led 64-49 at half as Reggie Jackson continued his scoring bursts, scoring 14 in 16 minutes on 5-of-6 shooting but it was Paul George who had the spotlight on him.

Coming into this game, he averaged 23.6 points and 5.3 assists in 40.6 minutes through seven games but he had 20 points (8-16 FGs; 4-7 3Ps) and 3 assists after a 21-minute first half

Ingles, Clarkson carries Jazz early

With Donovan Mitchell's early struggles, the Jazz didn't have their offence clicking in Game 3.

Before Mitchell scored his first points at the 7:34 mark of the second quarter, it was Aussie Joe Ingles and the reigning Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson that took care of the team on offence.

Prior to Mitchell's first points, the duo had 25 of the team's first 31 points in the game with Ingles going for 14 on 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc while Clarkson had 11 in 15 minutes on 3-of-5 from 3-point distance.

Clippers win 3-point shooting battle

This series was going to be a matchup between the two-best 3-point shooting teams in the league during the regular season. The Jazz led the league in 3-point makes and attempts while the Clippers led the league with one of the all-time marks with their 41.1 percent efficiency from long-range.

In Game 2, the Jazz outscored the Clippers by 27 from beyond the arc. Game 3 was a different story as LA matched Utah's 19 made 3-pointers on eight fewer attempts.

Given their efficiency from long range, just hovering around how many the Jazz make should be enough but they can't afford to let the deficit be as large as it was in Game 2.

What's next?

Every game in this series is played with just a day-off in between.

So, both teams will be back at it and with the series standing at 2-1 in the Jazz's favour. It will be a pivotal Game 4 which is scheduled for Monday, June 14 at 10:00 p.m. ET

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