April 28, 2017
The Clippers forced a 7th and decisive game with the Jazz by defeating Utah on Friday night 98-93 in Salt Lake City.
Chris Paul led the way with 29 points and 8 assists, and held off a late Utah rally to force the 7th and deciding game of the best-of-7 series on Sunday afternoon at Staples Center. The winner will play the Golden State Warriors in the 2nd round.
Doc Rivers said game 6 was all about CP3. “It’s just Chris,” Rivers said. “He is as competitive as a human being as I’ve ever been around. When you put that with the talent and the will, that’s why he has performances like this in big games.
The Clippers began to pull away late in the 4th quarter, and went on a 9-2 run which was capped by an Austin Rivers 3-pointer with 3:58 remaining. That gave the Clippers a 91-77 lead.
After another Rivers 3-pointer, the Clippers opened up a 96-86 lead with 90 seconds left to play, but the Jazz weren’t done fighting. Gordon Hayward would score seven straight points to pull Utah within 96-93. The Jazz had a chance to tie it in the final seconds, but Joe Johnson’s 3-pointer missed. Paul made two free throws to put the game away.
Hayward led the Jazz with 31 points, George Hill added 22 and Rudy Gobert finished with 15 points and nine rebounds, but it wasn’t enough.
“We had to dig down on defense,” DeAndre Jordan said. “We had some big stops on defense. And then guys like Austin, CP, Jamal, they made big shots. But they made big shots because of our defense.”
Now the Clippers will have an overwhelming advantage in game 7 at Staples Center. 80% of home teams in NBA history have won game 7. The Clips are 3-3 all-time in game 7’s.