BLAKE Griffin and Chris Paul played big to make sure no late-game collapse happened this time around as the Los Angeles Clippers kept the Utah Jazz at bay, 99-91, to even their first round series in the 2017 NBA Playoffs at 1-1 on Tuesday (Wednesday, Manila time) at the Staples Center.
Griffin led all scorers with 24 points, including a booming triple with 1:35 to play that doused a late Jazz rally. Paul added a double-double of 21 markers, knocking down 3-of-4 treys, and 10 assists.
The Clippers never trailed in Game 2, taking full advantage of the absence of Utah big man Rudy Gobert, in closing the first quarter with an 18-10 run to take an early 11-point lead.
The Jazz would cut the gap to three in the third before Paul took over with back-to-back baskets to spark a 15-3 run and bring the lead back up to 12, 70-58, late in the period.
Utah refused to give up in the fourth, and got within six, 92-86, on a Joe Ingles triple with 4:41 left. But Paul scored then found Griffin open on the corner triple as the Clippers responded well to every Jazz run.
DeAndre Jordan also had a huge outing with 18 points and 15 rebounds before fouling out with 2:10 to play.
Gordon Hayward had 20 points to lead the Jazz, but shot just 5-of-15. Derrick Favors and Game 1 hero Joe Johnson scored 13 apiece.