SOLT LAKE CITY – – Donovan Mitchell scored 45 points to lead the Utah Jazz to a 112-109 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in Match 1 of their Western Conference semifinal series on Tuesday night.
Mitchell finished most of his work in the second half, scoring 32 points to collect jazz from a double-digit deficit. Jordan Clarkson and Bojan Bogdanovic scored 18 points each. Mitchell and Clarkson combined for 12 3-points.
Kawhi Leonard scored 23 points to take the lead in Los Angeles. Paul George scored 20 points and 11 rebounds. Luke Kenard added 18 points while making four teams with 3 points.
Utah and Los Angeles will play Game 2 on Thursday in Salt Lake City.
Jazz is 1
George scored a 3-point goal to reduce the deficit to 112-109 in the last minute. But Rudy Robert blocked a potential binding shot from Marcus Morris with a second left to keep the victory.
Jazz was icy cold in insult in the first quarter. Utah jumped to a 10-2 lead after Mitchell made a 3-point pair. Over the next 8 1/2 minutes, the jazz missed 20 consecutive beats. 15 of the 20 shots were contested by the Clippers. Utah started 3-of-25 from the field before Clarkson buried corner three to break the ice.
Los Angeles took advantage of the prolonged drought with 22-2. Kennard buried three threes to put the Clippers ahead 24-12 at the end of the quarter.
The hot outside shooting spurred Los Angeles through the second quarter and kept Utah at arm’s length. The Clippers went 7-on-12 from a 3-point range in the quarter. Four of those baskets came during a stretch in which they scored in six straight possessions, ending with Rajon Rondo’s outside basket to increase their lead to 51-37.
Mitchell took over at the beginning of the third quarter. He scored four straight baskets to open the quarter and scored 16 points in nine minutes. His efforts helped the jazz regain a 72-71 lead at the end of 13-4. Mitchell pushed baskets from back to back to feed the run and helped keep Royce O’Neill going.
Hair clippers: Serge Ibaka (back cramps) no game. … DeMarcus Cousins made his debut after the season and finished with six points and three rebounds in four minutes. The cousins did not appear in any of the first round matches against Dallas. … George came out of the field 4-on-17.
Jazz: Mike Conley (right bone strain) doesn’t play. … Mitchell shot 11-of-17 from the field in the second half. … Robert and O’Neill combined for 23 fights. … Utah didn’t score a two-point basket in the first quarter, going 0-on-8 inside the 3-point line.