20 seconds into game 4 between the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers the Jazz took the lead. Joe Ingles assisted on a driving dunk by Bojan Bogdanovic. That 2 point lead clearly agitated the Clippers who took the lead back on a 3 pointer by Kawhi Leonard 30 seconds later. And that was the end of that. The Jazz never led again.
The Clippers played like the championship contenders they were expected to be. Both of their superstars played like superstars and their defense was elite. The only question for the Clippers will be if this is who they are or just who they can be from time to time. The Utah Jazz are a very good team playing without their All-Star guard. The Clippers are going to have to be who they were last night at two more times to get past the Jazz.
Star of the Game
Impossible to pick one. I mean, you could pick one of many. It would be easier to pick someone on the Clippers who under-performed, but that would just be cruel. The Clippers player well on both ends, the coaching staff made the right calls and all is well in ClipperNation. Big wins in big games have a way of doing that.
The Clippers played great. That is the concern, as odd as it may sound. Was their performance last night an aberration?, or was it who they are? Of course Paul George and Kawhi Leonard could play that well again. Of course their defense can be elite again. But, will those things happen again? The concern for the Clippers now is any drop in performance that results in a loss will be seen as regression. A return to “same ole Clippers”. Now that everyone has seen what this team is capable of everyone will expect it. Maybe not in every game, but certainly in games 5, 6 and 7 (if needed).
Patrick Beverley scored 2 points. He was on the court for 20 minutes and scored 2 points. Normally, that would not earn you consideration for surprise contribution, or anything else. What has always set Beverley apart however is his willingness to play aggressively on all 94 feet of the court. Sure, he only scored 2 points, but last night the Clippers didn’t need offense, they needed attitude. Beverley gave them than plus 3 rebounds (all offensive to keep possessions alive), 3 assists, 1 steal, only 1 turnover and 4 blocks! 2 of those blocks came against Donovan Mitchell as he tried to send the Jazz into halftime with momentum. He was denied once, then again by Mr. 94 feet.
Game 5 against the Utah Jazz, Wednesday June 16th at 7PM Pacific
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Jose never liked to write when he had to. Now that he gets to, he loves it! Former Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report, covered the 2010 NBA Finals for the LA Times.