Los Angeles

Jazz Push Clippers to Brink of Elimination With 96-92 Win in Game 5

Los Angeles is on the brink of elimination after a disappointing 96-92 loss to the Utah Jazz in Game 5 at Staples Center on Tuesday night.

It's a familiar feeling for Clippers' fans.

The Los Angeles Clippers are on the brink of another first round exit after a disappointing, 96-92 loss at home to the Utah Jazz in Game 5 at Staples Center on Tuesday night.

Joe Johnson or "Iso Joe," as he's known, continues to be a thorn in the Clippers side as he scored 14 points off the bench, including a dagger three with 2:59 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Gordon Hayward, back from a bout with food poisoning in Game 4, led the Jazz with 27 points as Utah dominated the paint for the second straight game.

"I didn't have very much legs out there," admitted Hayward who was still feeling some flul-like symptoms. "I think it was good I got some open looks early. It definitely helps when you see the ball go through the hoop, but I was definitely tired out there." 

After an ugly affair for the first three quarters, both teams caught fire in the final frame with the Jazz draining five three-pointers, including three of them by Rodney Hood.

"We finished the game with Rodney [Hood] and Joe Johnson, two guys that aren't starters," Utah head coach Quin Snyder said of his bench. "Rodney hit a couple of big ones. I think that's one of the good things about this group is I don't think guys care that much whether they're starting or not, and everybody is behind each other."

In all, six different players scored in double-figures for Utah with center Rudy Gobert dominating the defensive end with 11 points, 11 rebounds and five steals.

"Rudy is not wired that way," said Snyder of how is young center plays under the bright lights of the NBA Playoffs. "If anything, we've got to tone him down, but he was great tonight."

The Clippers kept it close as they came back from an 11-point fourth quarter deficit, but the Jazz quickly went on an 8-0 run, and would never trail again.

"They got the momentum and went up 11," said Clippers' head coach Doc Rivers. "We called a time-out. We go on an 11-0 run and we got it back. Then there was some big plays that changed the game. The offensive rebound that I think Hayward kept alive and Joe Johnson makes a three, it just seemed like they made timely plays down the stretch and we didn't."

Chris Paul once again led the Clippers with 28 points and J.J. Redick had his best game of the series with 26 points.

"Our back's agains the wall, down 3-2," said Paul following the loss. "Fortunately, we've got a lot of guys in the locker room who had to this a couple years ago. We had to go into a tough environment, win a game, come back home and win Game 7. We've got to do what we've got to do."

The game marked the return of Austin Rivers who missed the last month with a hamstring injury. Unfortunately for the Clippers, Rivers was atrocious in his return, shooting 0-for-4 from the field in just 16 minutes.

Utah can close the series out in Game 6 in Salt Lake City on Friday. If so, it would mark the second consecutive season the Clippers have been eliminated in the first round after being a heavy favorite to win the series. 

Contact Us