WESTERN CONFERENCE 1ST ROUND – GAME 2 – Series tied 1-1
LOS ANGELES, Sporting Alert — Blake Griffin scored 24 points and Chris Paul added 21 and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Utah Jazz 99-91 in Game 2 to even their NBA playoff first-round series at 1-1 on Tuesday night.
Griffin shot 11-of-21 from the floor and grabbed five rebounds, while Paul was 9-of-15 from the field in shooting and dished out 10 assists with three steals.
“It was big. Our spirit was great, and I think it just carried over into the first quarter, with everybody being aggressive. That’s what we need,” Griffin said.
Miss or make shots, we have to be aggressive like that. Our offensive aggressiveness will carry over to defense.”
DeAndre Jordan, who had a double-double in the first period, scored 14 of 18 points in the first half and collected 15 rebounds, 10 of which came before the interval.
The All-Star centre shot 9-of-11 from the field.
“We got a lot of stops early in the game,” Jordan said. “We were able to get out and run in transition and get some easy dunks and post steals for Blake, and then it opens up for our shooters.”
Jamal Crawford was the other LA Clipper to score in double figures after he finished with 10 points, but miss all five of his 3-point attempts.
Gordon Hayward led the Jazz with 20 points and six rebounds.
Derrick Favors finished with 13 points and seven rebounds and Joe Johnson, who scored the winner in Game 1, added 13 points off the bench.
George Hill chipped in the with 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists and Rodney Hood scored 10 points off the bench in the defeat for Utah, which shot 45.7 percent and was outscored 60-38 in the paint.
“We got to find other ways to protect the paint. That’s the challenge,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said.
“There’s no sense lamenting his absence. Just got to figure out how to be better.”
The Jazz played without the injured Rudy Gobert, who sustained a knee injury in Game 1 on Saturday.
Los Angeles Clippers, who shot 52.4 percent on Tuesday night and had 26 assists on 44 made baskets, raced out to a 12-point lead in the first quarter and went into the halftime break with a 51-42 advantage.
Both teams were evenly matched throughout the rest of the contest and the Clippers held on to tie the series ahead of their road trip.
“The first quarter is what really got us, and they hit us a little bit, set us back in Game 1, as well,” Hayward said.
“We definitely have to be better in the first quarter, but besides the first quarter we played them pretty even.”
Snyder added: “They played with an intensity and level from the beginning of the game. It was impressive.”
Game 3 in this series is Friday night in Salt Lake City.