SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Paul George had 37 points, 16 rebounds and five assists to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a 119-111 victory over the Utah Jazz in Game 5 of their Western Conference semifinal series Wednesday night.
George became the first player in franchise history to post at least 35 points, 15 rebounds, and five assists in a playoff game.
“It was no secret. I knew I had to be big tonight and gotta be big going forward,” George said.
Marcus Morris scored 25 points and Reggie Jackson added 22 for the Clippers. Los Angeles won its third straight game to push the top-seeded Jazz to the brink of elimination. The Clippers shot 51% from the field without Kawhi Leonard in the lineup.
“Our season is alive because of his shouldering of all the work he’s done,” George said. “We got to hold it together and continue to keep this boat afloat until he returns.”
Bojan Bogandovic made nine 3-pointers and scored 32 points to lead Utah. Donovan Mitchell added 21 points. Rudy Gobert chipped in 17 points and 11 rebounds. Six players scored in double figures for the Jazz.
Utah and Los Angeles will play Game 6 on Friday in Los Angeles.
“This series is not over,” Mitchell said. “We got a lot of life left to give, a lot of juice to give and we just got to go out there and play with a level of desperation that we’d never played with before, otherwise we’ll be home.”
The Jazz trailed the entire fourth quarter after making just six baskets in the third. Utah cut the deficit to 100-97 when Mitchell converted a three-point play with 5:46 left. Jackson answered with back-to-back baskets to squelch a Jazz comeback. Utah could get no closer after that point.
“We know that we’re going to need a better collective effort than we had tonight,” Gobert said. “Hopefully we get more urgency the next game because now, if we lose, we’re going home, so you can’t get more urgency than that.”
The Clippers played their first postseason game without Leonard after he suffered a knee injury in Game 4. Mike Conley missed his fifth straight game for the Jazz while rehabbing a strained hamstring.
Los Angeles seized an early 10-3 lead after Terence Mann took a steal in for a layup to cap a string of four baskets on four straight possessions. Los Angeles could not hold the advantage for long after Utah started cooking from the perimeter.
The Jazz made a franchise-record 10 3-pointers and shot 13-of-18 from the field overall in the first quarter. Bogdanovic led the way, going 6-of-7 from outside, tying an NBA postseason record for most 3-pointers made in a single quarter. He scored the last four outside baskets on four straight possessions to put Utah up 32-26.
Utah kept up the barrage in the second quarter and went 17-of-30 from 3-point range before halftime. The Jazz built up a 10-point lead during the quarter, going up 56-46 when Gobert tipped in a layup to punctuate a 13-2 run.
Los Angeles weathered the storm and surged back ahead early in the third quarter. The Clippers opened the second half on a 23-9 run capped by back-to-back threes from George and Mann and took an 83-74 lead midway through the quarter.
“Every guy that played tonight contributed and that’s the team we have,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “Mentally tough. Mentally strong. We fought to the end.”
Clippers: Mann made his first career start in a playoff game in place of the injured Leonard. He finished with 13 points and two steals. … Los Angeles scored 17 points off 11 Utah turnovers in the first half. … George posted his third consecutive 30-point game. He’s scored at least 20 points in all five games against the Jazz.
Jazz: Bogdanovic became the fourth player to make at least six 3-pointers in a single quarter during the 2020-21 NBA Playoffs. … Utah had more turnovers (6) than missed baskets (5) in the first quarter. … The Jazz missed 17 straight shots from the perimeter before Mitchell ended the drought with a 3-pointer with 4:05 remaining. Utah went 0-of-10 from 3-point range in the third quarter alone.
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