The Clippers survived the loss of Blake Griffin to a debilitating toe issue in almost identical fashion to how Utah managed to persevere after Gobert was hurt.
The No. 4-seeded Clippers and No. 5-seeded Jazz are knotted at two games apiece heading into the pivotal game in Los Angeles.
But really? The fulcrum for this game was Rudy Gobert. The Clippers will look to bounce back behind the efforts of Paul and DeAndre Jordan, who was effective in Game 4 but often looked worn out and unable to give consistent effort on defense. During Austin Rivers' absence, Doc Rivers had noted how the Clippers suffered both defensively and in attacking the basket.
"That's not true", he said.
"I'm just trying to get to a sweet spot", Johnson said. That's fine. I think Chris is our leader. "And it put a lot of pressure on our offense".
The coach's son is coming off his best season in the National Basketball Association, averaging 12.0 points and 2.8 assists per game.
L.A. scored 60 points in the paint and took advantage of the fact Derrick Favors, now flying solo in the rim protection game, had to be concerned about foul trouble and couldn't be aggressive.
It was reported that Rivers will be on a minutes restriction for Game 5 as he works his way back from the injured hamstring, so that will likely help the Jazz to keep him in check as well. "And I don't even know if he can do that". The Clippers had drafted Griffin with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. A lack of urgency and poor performances by the supporting cast (except for Jamal Crawford) cost the Clippers game 4, where they were handed a golden opportunity to steal another game as Gordon Hayward played just 9 minutes as he dealt with food poisoning.
Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin is out for the remainder of the playoffs after injuring his big toe during Friday night's win against the Utah Jazz.
"Especially because we lost the first one (Game 3) at home".
"There's no cushioning it", Rivers said. "I think he's forcing it a little bit". "It's not often you find a guy that has that combination of skill, as far as his ability to handle the ball and make plays. That's not what he should do".
Revenge was a dish best served by a man in a bear costume on Monday as Utah Jazz's mascot demonstrated at Salt Lake City's Vivint Arena.
Gerald Green made four four-pointers on his way to 18 points, helping the top-seeded Celtics return the favour in Chicago after dropping the first two games at home. DeAndre Jordan picked up his play when Griffin went down as he had 17 points and 13 rebounds.
The Clippers were hesitant to give Gobert too much credit. When Johnson is on the bench, the Jazz have been outscored by 20. That said, he can't stay healthy, and I'm not sure he'll ever quite good enough to carry a team and be that "A" player for a franchise. "He trusts the actions we're running, number two, and he has an incredible wheel". The Clippers, however, will still be without the services of Blake Griffin, whose season ended prematurely after injuring the plantar plate of his right big toe early in game three.
Joe Johnson didn't start, but he was the best player on the court at the finish, scoring 26 points off the bench, including 11-in-a-row at one point in the fourth quarter. So, we'll see, though. "We would not have played him if we felt like he wasn't safe".