Salt Lake City – Donovan Mitchell scored 37 points and Utah Jazz Forced nine straight misses down the extension to hold out more Los Angeles Clippers 117-111 Thursday night and lead 2-0 in the Western Conference semi-final series.
Mitchell sealed the match with a driving shot 43 seconds left, but then appeared to have a slight leg injury due to a foul by Paul George 10 seconds before play. He made one of two free throws after he limped over the line.
The goalkeeper is the first Jazz player to score at least 35 points in consecutive games since Karl Malone in 1988.
Jordan Clarkson scored 24, including six three-pointers, while Joe Engels scored 19 points, and Rudy Gobert contributed 13 points and 20 rebounds.
Reggie Jackson led the Clippers with 29 points and George 27. Kawhi Leonard scored 21 points but managed only two in the fourth quarter.
The series moves to Los Angeles on Saturday for Game 3.
Once the Clippers took their only lead at 101-99 after 3 consecutive throws by Jackson, the Jazz forced a nine-game losing streak 14-2 in the round that culminated in the Engels 3-pointer to make it 113-103 with 3:07 to play.
In the second half, the Clippers mixed multiple coverages and cut passes that would normally acquire the look of a clean jazz 3-pointer and Jackson got hot.
Mitchell scored 27 first-half points — the most Utah players have in the last 25 years — to lead the Jazz to an early lead and then a late push in the second quarter to cement the Utah lead to 66-53 at the end of the first half.
Mitchell hit 11 of 16 in the first half and did the same in the second half of the first game. He scored 59 points in 22 of 32 shots over those four quarters.
The pretender Mitchell said he wanted to conserve energy with the exceptional physical demands in qualifying, but couldn’t show emotion in some of his great ends.
Mike Conley missed his second game after injuring a hamstring at the end of the Utah-Memphis series, but the Jazz have now won six games in a row.
Jackson scored 16 points in the third quarter and the Jazz finally started missing shots against the Clippers’ active area. Their lead was reduced from 21 to four when Marcus Morris led the pass and flipped a slasher shot to make it 82-78. The Clippers returned without Leonard who had sat for most of the period with four fouls.
For most of the match, the Clippers looked for Joubert whenever they ventured into the fairway and resorted to double pumps and single angles in shots into the basket that the long-armed Frenchman had not blocked.
Leonard, George and Patrick Beverly were among the Clippers who kept Mitchell as well as throwing double teams at the Utah guard after the three-point streak.
Rather than getting small, the Clippers tackled Gobert with DeMarcus Cousins and Ivica Zubak, who was held back by a bad first-half problem.
Clippers: After scoring the league’s best free throw percentage ever in the regular season (83.9%), the Clippers scored 20 points out of 23. â?? Jackson’s 16 third-quarter points was the most he’d scored in a single third quarter. Postseason. â?? Los Angeles outperformed Utah in the paint 42-32.
Jazz: Coach Quin Snyder and owner Ryan Smith presented the Gobert Award for Best Defensive Player before getting a tip. Ingles got a blatant arm foul on Beverly’s head after the Clippers guard mistook him early in the fourth quarter. â?? The Jazz made 20 three-pointers (in 39 attempts) to set a franchise break record.