LOS ANGELES—The Utah Jazz came into Staples Center on Saturday, April 15, and defeated the Los Angeles Clippers, 97-95 courtesy of a Joe Johnson floater, which rattled in giving the Jazz a 1-0 series lead in the opening round of the 2017 NBA playoffs.
The Jazz were confident after Chris Paul hit a bank shot evening the score 95 all with under 13 seconds remaining, Utah did not use a timeout. Rather, Johnson calmly dribbled the ball across the half court line. Guarding him was Jamal Crawford, Johnson blew past him, than put up a parabola like shot above even DeAndre Jordan’s reach and the ball went through the net as time expired. This comes as no surprise, Johnson has amassed 10 buzzer beaters in his 16-year career.
The victory is a huge boost for the Jazz, who lost Center Rudy Gobbert just 11 seconds into the game. The Jazz Center collided into Jordan, and injured his left knee. He was carried into the locker room, and was unable to return. His status remains uncertain for the duration of the series.
What is certain: the Clippers backs are pushed up against the wall and Monday night is a MUST WIN. Blake Griffin scored 26 points, 20 in the first half alone. While Point Guard Chris Paul added 25 points, and 11 assists.
Paul carried the Clippers on his back in the fourth quarter. He scored the teams final 10 points, yet it wasn’t enough. This was Paul’s 83rd playoff game, and the future Hall of Famer has never reached the NBA Finals, not even an appearance in the Conference Finals. Hell, even Carmelo Anthony has played in the Western Conference Finals.
The Clippers will seek to even the series on Tuesday, April 18. Tipoff is 7:30 p.m.