Game Five Goes to the Jazz; Take 3-2 Series Lead Over Clippers

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Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports

Gordon Hayward (#20) led the Jazz with 27 points in their win on Monday.

Ramon Alvarado, Staff Writer

The Utah Jazz went into the Staples Center Monday, April 25, and left with a 96-92 road victory over the Los Angeles Clippers. The win in game five gives Utah a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.

After averaging 108 points per game in the regular season, Los Angeles’ offense has been restricted in the postseason by the well-rounded Jazz defense. The Clippers have only scored over 100 points once in the first five games of the series.

Los Angeles led game five by two at the end of the first quarter, but after that couldn’t really keep a lead. The Jazz relied on a balanced attack to stay ahead most of the game. Six Utah players finished the game with double figures in points.

Gordon Hayward was the highest scorer in the game for Utah, tallying a total of 27. It was the savvy Joe Johnson, however, who came up clutch again and delivered the knockout blow to the Clippers.

It was a one possession game when Johnson hit a pull-up jumper to push the Jazz lead to five with 19.2 seconds left in the ballgame. The Clippers fought to the end, but couldn’t overcome the dagger.

Even without Blake Griffin (toe injury), the Clipper offense had plenty of fire-power to go along with Chris Paul, who finished with 28. The Clippers went on an 11-0 run to tie the game about midway through the fourth quarter. Utah coach Quin Snyder credited his team’s resilience for coming up with Monday’s win.

“We made some undisciplined fouls on jump-shooters, which hurt us. I thought it gave them some momentum, it gave them some rhythm,” Snyder said postgame. “Teams make runs, […] it’s gonna happen, it’s more about how you respond to it and we responded pretty well.”

The Jazz will host game six at Vivant Smart Home Arena in Utah on Friday, April 28. It could be the last game of the season for the Los Angeles Clippers, who trail the series 3-2. With many key players possibly becoming free-agents this summer, the Clippers cannot afford a first-round exit if they hope to keep their top talent.

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