Paul George scored 37 points to lead the Los Angeles Clippers, playing without injured Kawhi Leonard, to an upset 119-111 win over the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City on Wednesday night.
In doing so, George became the first Clipper in franchise history to post at least 35 points, 15 rebounds and five assists in a playoff game. He’s also the only player other than Kevin Durant to do it during the current post-season.
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Marcus Morris Sr. added 25 and Reggie Jackson fired in 22 points to help Los Angeles take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series. The fourth-seeded Clippers can eliminate the top-seeded Jazz in Los Angeles in Game 6 on Friday night.
Los Angeles Clippers
Despite the absence of Leonard, who was side-lined due to a sprained right knee, the Clippers withstood a blistering first-half shooting performance by the Jazz to win their third consecutive game after falling behind 0-2 in the series.
George grabbed a playoff-career-high 16 rebounds and dished out a team-high five assists.
Bojan Bogdanovic hit nine 3-pointers and scored 32 points to lead the Jazz. Donovan Mitchell, limited by a sprained ankle, added 21 points, five assists and five rebounds for Utah.
The Jazz again played without Mike Conley, who has yet to appear in the series because of a strained right hamstring.
Utah hit 17 of 30 3-point attempts in the first half but only took a 65-60 lead into the locker room. Bogdanovic hit his first six long-distance attempts in the first quarter and had 18 points in the opening period and 23 by halftime.
The Clippers scored 17 points off the Jazz’s 11 first-half turnovers to neutralize Utah’s early hot shooting.
All six of Bojan Bogdanovic's three-pointers as he explodes for 18 points in the first pic.twitter.com/kgB9JwyXjk
It was the third quarter that proved the turning point for Los Angeles as they outscored the Jazz 17-5 to open the second half and eventually established a 10-point lead in the third quarter. Utah missed all 10 of its 3-point attempts in the period and was outscored 32-18 as Los Angeles turned a five-point halftime deficit into a 92-83 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Rudy Gobert, who finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds, kept the Jazz within striking distance with three consecutive inside buckets.
Utah pulled within three midway through the fourth quarter after a Mitchell layup and free throw, but Jackson responded with a clutch three-pointer and a layup.
The Jazz kept fighting and were within four before the Clippers’ Terance Mann exploded toward the basket and slammed the ball over Gobert. He added a free throw after the highlight-reel play to give the Clippers a 110-103 lead with 2:39 to go.
THAT'S A MANN'S JAM pic.twitter.com/1bONMQRj2B
After a Mitchell drive brought Utah within four once, George responded with another three-point play, putting the Clippers up 113-106 with 1:48 to go.
The Clippers ended up shooting 51.2 percent from the field including a 40 percent performance (16 of 40) from three-point range. The Jazz shot 45 percent overall and went just 20 of 54 from deep (37 percent) despite the red-hot start, hitting only three in the second half.
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