With a packed house full of fans including former Jazz coach Jerry Sloan in the stands, the Jazz got off to a rough start. The Los Angeles Clippers already with a virtual guarantee of the fourth seed weren’t going to give this game to the Jazz so easily, even while resting their four best players. With the first points of the game, they gave the Jazz a run for their money. The Clippers ran their defense well, with three steals, leading the first half of the first quarter with double the points of the Jazz. Cole Aldrich already had seven at that point. Did the Jazz come prepared to play? With a time out to break the run and make a fresh start, The Jazz came back to finish what they came here to do, win. Shelvin Mack got his game face on, scoring 8 points. After a Rudy Gobert slam-dunk, the Jazz had their confidence back.
The whole Vivant Smart Home Arena gave a standing ovation as Alec Burks paraded onto the court for his first time since his injury three months ago against the Clippers. With the triumph of having Burks back playing and the determination of the players, The Utah Jazz took the lead heading into second quarter, 26-25 after Trevor Booker hit a buzzer beater.
With the Jazz in the zone, they came into the second quarter on fire. Gordon Hayward instantly grabbed a rebound running the court to assist Burks on a corner three. Gordon Hayward slayed the second quarter with 7 points, 1 of which was a three pointer. With the last two minutes of second quarter the Jazz started slowing down. The Jazz, gave away two turnovers, resulting in points for the Clippers. The Clippers started making a comeback, closing the gap to 52-47 at the half.
With the Clippers resting four of their main players, they still brought everything they could to the court. In the third quarter the Jazz, now trailing behind the Clippers, had to give a special effort to prove that they not only needed the win but that they wanted this win to help them get to the playoffs. With seconds left in the quarter, Gordon Hayward hit a three pointer at the buzzer. Even with Gordon’s eight baskets in the third quarter it wasn’t enough for the Jazz, who trailed the Clippers 72-76 after three.
The Jazz had to step it up if they wanted the win. Joe Ingles had a steal leading to a slam-dunk that got the crowd on their feet. Gordon Hayward hit two free throws to put the Jazz up four late in the game. The Clippers got the ball and with a Jazz foul, they also got two free throw shots. The Clippers had the ball in their court and made both free throws. With only 19 seconds left in the game the Clippers took a time out. Only two points behind the Clippers had the ball. They hit with 2.4 seconds left to force overtime after Hayward missed a buzzer beater on the other end.
The Jazz got the ball to start overtime. Alec Burks took a three point shot and hit it. The Clippers got the ball but the Jazz stole it back. The Jazz couldn’t hold it together and the Clippers scored five points straight. The Jazz caught up and tied the score 99-99. With 50 seconds left in the game a second time out was called. The Clippers were called for an offensive foul. With only 20 seconds left on the clock a third time out was called. The Clippers with the ball ran down the clock, and with .2 seconds left Jamal Crawford hit from five feet beyond the three point line. The Utah Jazz were unable to take the win. Losing to the Clippers 99-102.
By Jenni Lym
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