Sport

Jazz flatten Clippers 104-91, win 1st-round series 4-3

Jazz flatten Clippers 104-91, win 1st-round series 4-3”

The Utah Jazz and Golden State Warriors meet in game one of the National Basketball Association second round playoffs Tuesday at the Oracle Arena.

Australians Joe Ingles and Dante Exum will face title favourites Golden State in the NBA Western Conference semi-finals after their Utah Jazz claimed a 4-3 playoffs series win over the Los Angeles Clippers. George Hill and Derrick Favors added 17 points apiece for Utah, which took control by opening the second half on a 23-9 run that put them ahead 69-48. Favors missed practice Monday with a sore lower back and is questionable for Game 1. The Jazz, who had a chance to eliminate the Clippers on Friday night in Salt Lake City, were 1-2 in their home games.

"We made it hard for Chris Paul to get in the lane, get his little pullup jump shot", Hayward said. "We have a rhythm, and we're enjoying the moment".

The Utah Jazz enjoyed another smooth ride through Staples Center. "We have fresh legs".

While the Jazz have been slugging it out with the Clippers, the Warriors have been waiting for more than a week for their next opponent since sweeping the Blazers in the first round.

The Clippers didn't want Paul Pierce to end his career in Utah, and apparently the Warriors were hoping to avoid the state altogether.

"Late, when we did start scoring, we couldn't get stops", Paul said. And then, God forbid you give up an offensive rebound, and you've got to do it all over again.

"We talked about our bigs just getting up a little bit more", Hill explained. That was the case when the Jazz beat the Warriors 105-99 on April 10. Had Los Angeles won, Golden State would have been able to stay closer to home and enjoy the local beaches as well as the infinite dining options. He is a very good scorer and good rebounder, but he is nearly guaranteed to get hurt at some point in the season, and he has been a letdown in his playoff appearances. One might think the Warriors' players should be focusing on the game and not partying it up, but apparently it was a consensus that Los Angeles would be the better place to be. When last seen, however, the Warriors were rolling offensively. He picked up his second foul three minutes into the game, his third foul with 10 minutes left in the first half, his fourth with 9 minutes left in the fourth quarter, and his fifth with 10 minutes left in the game, before finally fouling out with a minute to go.

Hayward fell ill in Game Four and played just nine minutes in Utah's win. Kerr also will miss Tuesday's opener against Utah, and there is no timetable for his return.

MISSING COACH: The Warriors are now prepared to push on without ailing head coach Steve Kerr perhaps for the remainder of the postseason. "The way we look at it is: Plan on him not coming back", Warriors forward Draymond Green said. "We have the rest of our staff, and that's what we're rolling with".



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