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Facing Elimination, Clippers Hold Off Jazz

The Los Angeles Clippers staved off the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena in game six of the NBA Playoffs Friday, 98-93.

SALT LAKE CITY—The Los Angeles Clippers staved off the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena in game six of the NBA Playoffs Friday, 98-93. The usually-efficient Jazz shot only 41% from the floor, including 7-of-26 from three-point range.

Gordon Hayward turned heads of departing fans with a three-pointer to cut the Jazz within three with 43.6 seconds left after trailing by as many as 14 points, but Utah couldn’t squeeze closer as time ran out. The teams will play at the Staples Center Sunday afternoon for a date with the top-seeded Golden State Warriors.

“They’re awesome. They’re awesome,” said Clippers head coach Doc Rivers of winner-take-all games. “This series deserves a game seven. It really does.”

Both teams have won on each other’s court twice and defended their own territory once each.

“This series has been a roller coaster for both teams,” said Jazz coach Quin Snyder. “Tonight, I felt at the beginning of the game we were in a good place and we got outplayed in a number of ways. Fortunately there is a game seven. We go to L.A. It is a quick turnaround and it is pretty simple; we have to play better. There are a number of ways we can do that, but we got to do it.”

After thirsting offensively in a barren second half, the Jazz cut the Clippers lead to six with 8:32 remaining on a Raul Neto three pointer, bringing an agitated crowd to their feet. But Luc Mbah a Moute made a pair of free throws, followed by jump shots by Chris Paul and Jamal Crawford to pad the lead back to 14.

Hayward, who finished with a game-high 31 points, made two free throws, stole the ball, and dunked it before making his three-pointer to cut the game to one possession. The Jazz got a defensive stop on L.A.’s ensuing play, but were unable to put the ball in the bucket before Paul iced the game with free throws.

“We’re not hanging our heads,” said Rodney Hood, who went 0-for-6 from three-point range. “There’s still life in us. We feel like we can go in there and get a win. Whatever happened tonight, we gotta put it behind us and go in there and get a win.”

Utah jumped out to early 9-3 and 22-10 leads in the first quarter, but couldn’t shake the Clippers’ retaliation. L.A. closed the first quarter on a 7-0 run, and gained a halftime lead of 47-45.

“We just hung in there. I thought early on we got great shots, just didn’t make them,” said Rivers. “I thought at the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second, it literally changed the complexion of the game. I thought when [DeAndre Jordan] and [Chris Paul] and them saw that second unit out there eon the floor they came in down and left up. That was huge.”

The shooting only got worse for Utah in the second half, making just 6-of-20 in the fourth quarter after seeing the L.A. lead extended by six points in the third.

Rudy Gobert exited the game with 4:48 to play after twisting his ankle of the defensive end of the floor. He noted soreness after the game, but no structural damage.

Game seven in Los Angeles will be Sunday afternoon at 1:30 on ABC. The Jazz are 22-19 away from Vivint Smart Home Arena this season, despite a riddle of injuries throughout the year.

Postgame Audio

Quin Snyder:

George Hill, Gordon Hayward:

Rudy Gobert:

Rodney Hood:

Joe Ingles:


Doc Rivers:

DeAndre Jordan, Chris Paul:

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