April 21, 2017
Chris Paul put the Clippers on his back in the 4th quarter, scoring 9 straight points during one stretch as LA defeated Utah 111-106 in game 3 of their 1st round playoff series. The Clippers now have a 2-1 lead in the series.
Paul finished the game with 34 points, 10 assists, and 7 rebounds for the Clips. However, they also lost Blake Griffin, who left the game in the 1st half after bruising his right big toe. The injury took place late in the 2nd quarter after Griffin scored on a fast break. He went to the locker room shortly after, undergoing X-rays that came back negative. He’ll be evaluated for further tests.
DeAndre Jordan had 17 points and 13 rebounds, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute had a playoff career-high 15 points, and Jamal Crawford finished with 9 points.
Gordon Hayward led the Jazz with a playoff career-high 40 points. However, the Jazz went scoreless for 6:06 of the 4th quarter, which allowed the Clippers to go on a 15-0 run.
With 4 minutes left, Paul nailed a 3-pointer to give the Clippers a 97-96 lead, their first lead since the 1st quarter of the game.
At the 3:23 mark, Paul went behind his back and eluded two Jazz defenders for a driving layup to make it 99-96 Clippers. That forced Utah to call a timeout to regroup.
“He has an amazing will,” Doc Rivers said. “He’s just a tough guy. He’s stubborn in a very, very positive way. All the great ones have that in them. They’re stubborn like they aren’t going to lose.”
“I’m just always looking at the scoreboard trying to manage the game,” Paul said. “I was just trying to pick my spots. That’s a good team over there. They stick to their principles.
Game 4 will be on Sunday in Utah. The Clippers will try to take a 3-1 lead in the series. They’ll be awaiting word on the severity of Griffin’s injury between now and then. Meanwhile, the Jazz will be awaiting word on whether center Rudy Gobert will return to their lineup.