A near wire-to-wire victory for the Clippers as they dominated Game 4 to tie the series up with a 118-104 victory.
They had to withstand 37 points from Donovan Mitchell and did so behind 31 points apiece from their superstar duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Marcus Morris Sr. was the other double-digit scorer for them with 24 - 22 of which came in the first half.
After the Jazz scored the first bucket, the Clippers led the rest of the way and ran away with this one behind a big first quarter. This is now a 'best-of-three' as the series heads back to Salt Lake City for Game 5.
But before that, here are the key takeaways from Game 4:
Clippers survive scare as Jazz find rhythm late
LA led this game by as many as 29 but it didn't stay that way, especially in the second half. The Jazz brought it down to 14 multiple times in the third and the lead was a threatening 10 late in the fourth but the Clippers held on.
From 29 down, Utah has cut it to 10!@utahjazz 102@LAClippers 112- NBA (@NBA) June 15, 2021
1:40 left on TNT. #NBAPlayoffs
Bouncing back from their 13-point first quarter, the Jazz scored 60 over the middle two quarters and outscored the Clippers 31-24 in the fourth but it wasn't enough. They simply couldn't make up the deficit they had given away earlier in the game.
Despite the rough first period, they still finished with four players in double-figure scoring and a couple more that added eight apiece while knocking down 17 3-pointers at an efficiency of 40.5 percent.
Leonard, George star for hosts
Apart from the 31, Leonard also finished with seven rebounds, three assists and two steals. However, his play of the game was this poster on Derrick Favours:
"OHH, A MAJOR KAWHI-LIGHT!" 😳- NBA (@NBA) June 15, 2021
All-angles of Kawhi Leonard's MONSTER JAM on TNT! #ThatsGame #NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/VyRzGMZgLK
The dunk even had Joel Embiid's attention as he addressed the media after his game.
Leonard sat out the final 4:35 minutes of the game, after he appeared to injure his right leg after being fouled on a layup attempt. However, he played down any injury talk in his postgame on-court interview - "No, I'll be good,".
George, on the other hand, finished with nine rebounds and four assists, to go with 31 points as he stepped up when Leonard was out. He scored nine of the team's last 11 points to ensure the Clippers withstood the Jazz's final rally.
The duo, having scored at least 20 in each of the 11 games of the postseason so far, become only the third duo in NBA history after Shaq and Kobe (2003) and Jerry West and Elgin Baylor (1962) to do so.
Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are the 5th duo since the 1976-77 NBA-ABA merger with 30 points each in back-to-back playoff games.- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 15, 2021
Can you name the other four duos? pic.twitter.com/LGmNNv9dbB
Donovan Mitchell gets his numbers
After being held scoreless in the first quarter of Game 3, Mitchell didn't have a lot of luck in the first period of Game 4. However, after scoring just four on 2-of-6 shooting, the young Jazz All-Star bounced back to keep his scoring streak alive.
He finished with 17 in the second quarter alone and then added another nine in the third to take him to the 30-point mark for the sixth straight game.
Donovan Mitchell has scored 30+ points and 5+ threes in 5 straight games, the longest streak in NBA playoff history.- StatMuse (@statmuse) June 15, 2021
That breaks the record previously set by Steph Curry in 2015.
(Submitted by @keerthikau) pic.twitter.com/WrWHhdpgr1
Mitchell's streak of 30 or more in six games is tied for the most in Jazz playoff history with Karl Malone.
With the 37 points in this game, the 6'1" guard has now scored 263 points in 267 minutes through seven games this 2021 postseason.
Most points per minute by a player in a playoff run (min 7 games):- StatMuse (@statmuse) June 15, 2021
0.99 - Donovan Mitchell in 2021
0.96 - Donovan Mitchell in 2020
0.95 - Jerry West in 1965
Spida has scored 263 points in 267 minutes this playoffs. pic.twitter.com/OXxxARrWsM
Clippers first-quarter domination
It wasn't a lights-out quarter offensively for the Clippers but with their defence in-sync, they opened up Game 4 early. Outscoring the Jazz 30-13 in the first 12 minutes, the Clippers never gave away control of the game until late in the fourth quarter.
All of the team's 30 points came from the trio of Leonard (12), Morris Sr. (11) and George (7).
Mook opening up with a pair of triples.- LA Clippers (@LAClippers) June 15, 2021
📺 @NBAonTNT | #ClipperNation pic.twitter.com/GlM3rvIsVj
2 strong. 💪🏾 pic.twitter.com/hb7VEYpC5v- LA Clippers (@LAClippers) June 15, 2021
PG creates space... splash! 👌🏾 pic.twitter.com/IZDi0VZPht- LA Clippers (@LAClippers) June 15, 2021
The Clippers shot 9-of-22 from the field with six of those coming from beyond the arc in 12 attempts while committing just the one turnover. However, they took control because they held the Jazz to 6-of-21 from the field and 1-of-7 from beyond the arc with six turnovers.
For the second-straight series, the Clippers bounce back from a 2-0 deficit to tie things up. Game 5, back in Salt Lake City, is scheduled for Wednesday, June 16 at 10:00 p.m ET.
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