Los Angeles Clippers forward Nicolas Batum (33) defends as Utah Jazz goalie Donovan Mitchell, left, goes to the basket in the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball playoff series second round on Thursday, June 10, 2021, in Salt Lake City. (Rick Bowmer, Associated Press)
SALT LAKE CITY – The Los Angeles Clippers were trying to find something to slow Donovan Mitchell down.
Falling fat? Of course, that didn’t work.
Blitz the pick and roll? That either.
Switch? Not that night.
The Clippers threw it all at the Jazz and finally found something that stuck. The Clippers used zonal defense to completely erase the Jazz’s 21-point lead in the third quarter, but that wasn’t enough to knock the Jazz down.
The late 3s of Bojan Bogdanovic, Royce O’Neale and Joe Ingles helped fuel a 12-2 run in the fourth quarter as Utah held on for a 117-111 victory and to take a lead of 2-0 in the best of seven series.
The series travels to Los Anglees for Game 3 on Saturday.
Mitchell started just as he left off in Game 1, scoring 27 points in the first half to give Utah a 13-point halftime lead. He was 11 of 16 in the field and finished the half with a 3 point drop in the last minute.
It was more or less the same in the opening minutes of the third quarter. The Jazz forced Kawhi Leonard to commit three fouls in the first two minutes and Mitchell hit another triple to take Utah’s lead to 21.
Then the Clippers entered a confrontation zone that blocked the Jazz’s offense. LA immediately went into a 12-0 run to reduce the lead to single digits, and it just kept coming. Led by Reggie Jackson and Paul George, the Clippers managed to take a 101-99 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
Bogdanovic hit 3 points, Rudy Gobert slammed a dunk, a 3 point from Royce O’Neale and a 3 point from Joe Ingles – and just like that, the Jazz had a 10 point lead again. And this time, they wouldn’t give it up.
Mitchell finished with 37 points on a 15-for-29 shot and added four assists. Jordan Clarkson had 24 points and was 6 of 9 in a 3-point range, with some criticism for keeping the Jazz afloat in the third quarter. Ingles came out of his shooting crisis to score 19 points and was 7 of 10 in the field. Bogdanovic finished with 16.
This story will be updated.