The LA Clippers have done the unthinkable. Without All-NBA First Teamer Kawhi Leonard, they went into Salt Lake City and stunned the top-seeded Jazz 119-111 in a pivotal Game 5.
This is LA's third straight victory and now puts them within one win of advancing to the franchise's first-ever Conference Finals. Another win would also make the franchise the first-ever team to overcome multiple 2-0 series deficits in the same postseason.
Paul George, with 37 points, led a balanced Clippers offence that had four players finishing with at least 12 points. For the Jazz, who tied a playoff franchise-record 20 3-pointers, six scored in double figures led by Bojan Bogdanovic's 32 points but it wasn't enough.
Here's a look at the biggest talking points from Game 5:
Paul George leads by example in Kawhi's absence
George stuffed the stat sheet, finishing with 37 points, 16 rebounds, five assists and two blocks on 12-of-22 shooting from the field.
By far, his best game of the 2021 postseason, George also became the first player in franchise history to score at least 20 in 12 consecutive games.
Paul George is the 1st player with 35 points, 15 rebounds & 5 assists in a playoff game in Clippers history. pic.twitter.com/iLnLl9rJYX- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 17, 2021
He received help from the duo of Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris Sr., who combined for 46 points on 18-of-31 shooting from the field. Young gun Terrence Mann was huge as well, scoring 13 points along with two assists and two steals in 26 minutes of action.
Mann might have the highlight of the game to his name:
Terance Mann did that. pic.twitter.com/CHypofBOBp- LA Clippers (@LAClippers) June 17, 2021
Meanwhile, Donovan Mitchell had his first real off-game of the playoffs. Coming off six straight games with at least 30, he struggled in this one and only scored 21 on 6-of-19 shooting from the field.
Difference-making third quarter
Although the Jazz led by as many as 10 and for a majority of the first half, the Clippers never let it get away from them. Trailing by five (65-60) at halftime, the visitors flipped the game early in the third quarter.
They went on a 16-5 run to start the second half and eventually outscored the Jazz 32-18 in the period. The duo of George and Mann combined for 15 of the team's tally.
Crafty finish crashing to the cup.- LA Clippers (@LAClippers) June 17, 2021
📺 @NBAonTNT | #ClipperNation pic.twitter.com/C2txDUp3Pv
Bojan, Jazz make history early but cool-off
The first quarter was all offence as both teams scored a combined 73 points.
Bojan Bogdanovic was the spark for the Jazz, becoming the fifth player ever to knock down the NBA record of six 3-pointers in a quarter.
Bojan Bogdanovic (18 PTS) ties the postseason record for threes made in a quarter with 6 triples in the 1st! 🔥🔥@LAClippers 36@utahjazz 37 #NBAPlayoffs on TNT pic.twitter.com/h2v5zzvQJD- NBA (@NBA) June 17, 2021
For the Clippers, Paul George and Marcus Morris Sr. combined for 20 of the team's 36 in the first period but the Jazz poured it on in the second period.
In the second quarter, the hosts added seven more 3-pointers to their 10 from the first for the second-most in a half in NBA playoff history.
The @utahjazz 17 threes made in the 1st half tonight are the 2nd most 3PM in any half in #NBAPlayoffs history. Cleveland made 18 triples in the 1st half on 05/04/2016. pic.twitter.com/oXyj9mUiUq- NBA History (@NBAHistory) June 17, 2021
The Jazz, however, couldn't keep this hot shooting. On 3-pointers, they went from 10-of-15 in the first quarter to 7-of-15 in the second quarter and then finally, went 3-of-24 in the second half.
Much like his team, Bojan scored 25 in the first half on 8-of-14 shooting but only managed seven in the second half.
It's now a 'win-or-go-home' for the Jazz as the series shifts back to Los Angeles with Game 6 scheduled for Friday, June 18 at 10:00 p.m ET.
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