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Rudy Gobert still questionable to return versus LA

Rudy Gobert still questionable to return versus LA

Rivers sat behind the Clippers' bench during Game 1 against the Utah Jazz in a navy suit. If the Clippers seemed remarkably at peace the morning after their stunning 98-96 loss in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series against Utah, it's for one simple reason.

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill).

When injuries had decimated the Clippers and they were left among the playoff dead, one bloodied face rose from the rubble to keep the fight alive in last year's first- round series against the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Jazz could have called a timeout after Paul's shot, but the veteran Joe Johnson made a decision to dribble it out and milk the clock.

Prior to Johnson's heroics, Clippers guard Chris Paul tied the score at 95 with a floater with 18 seconds remaining on the clock. But on Saturday night, after driving through the lane to close range to launch a running layup that went rim-glass-rim before falling through for the 97-95 win, Johnson explained the secret of Iso Ball through the mind of the poor defender opposite him.

"I thought, if I can, to try to make them switch", Ingles said.

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"That's what he's been doing all his career", Utah's Boris Diaw said. "I hope he's OK and stuff like that, but we've got to worry about our team".

It was widely assumed that the game had quickly changed in favor of the Clippers when Jazz center Rudy Gobert went down early in the first quarter with what has turned out to be a hyperextended and bruised left knee, and didn't return.

Gordon Hayward contributed 19 points and 10 rebounds, George Hill added 16 points and Derrick Favors chipped in 15 points for Utah. Utah has been dealing with injury after injury all season, finally getting to a comfortable point of "full health" going into last evening's matchup. Unfortunately for them, as good as the trifecta of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan have been, they have seemingly reached their ceiling. FILE - In this March 23, 2017, file photo, Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic, left, drives past New York Knicks center Kyle O'Quinn during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore. The Jazz didn't really have a play call here that they were planning on.

"We just wanted to have it where they couldn't set up on us", Hayward said, glancing at Johnson. "We know it's just one step, and we've got to be ready for the next games, but it's something that we definitely discussed during preparation was coming in and trying to play well".

So, how then, did the Clippers leave Staples Center on Saturday night saddled with an all-too-familiar feeling: In a 0-1 series hole, facing yet another uphill climb to overcome their years-long playoff demons?


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