Kawhi Leonard recorded 31 points and seven rebounds before exiting with an apparent injury as the Los Angeles Clippers notched a 118-104 victory over the Utah Jazz on Monday night to tie their Western Conference semi-final series at two games apiece.
Paul George also scored 31 points and collected nine rebounds to help the Clippers win their second straight game in the best-of-seven series. Marcus Morris Sr scored 22 of his 24 points during a first half in which Los Angeles led by as many as 29 points.
Donovan Mitchell poured in 37 points to tie the Utah franchise playoff record of six straight 30-point outings held by Hall of Famer Karl Malone (three in 1995, three in 1996).
Leonard left the contest with 4:35 remaining and didn’t return. His departure came less than a minute after he grabbed at his right knee following a collision with the Jazz’s Joe Ingles.
“Nah, I’ll be good,” said Leonard postgame after being asked about the injury.
Los Angeles Clippers starters
|Marcus Morris Sr.||24||6||1|
Utah’s Mike Conley (hamstring) sat out and has missed all four games of the series.
Ingles scored 19 points and Bojan Bogdanovic added 18 for the top-seeded Jazz, who shot 42.9 per cent from the field and were 17 of 42 (40.5 per cent) from three-point range.
Fourth-seeded Los Angeles made 46.8 per cent of their shots and hit 15 of 37 (40.5 per cent) from behind the arc.
Utah Jazz starters
Ingles drained a three-pointer to pull Utah within 112-102 with 2:10 left before Los Angeles scored six of the next seven points en route to closing out the game.
Utah trailed 68-44 at half-time but trimmed the deficit to 14 early in the third quarter. George tallied five points during a 9-3 burst to give the Clippers an 84-64 advantage with 4:12 left in the stanza.
Los Angeles took a 94-73 lead into the final period. Luke Kennard’s three-pointer increased the Clippers’ advantage to 101-75 with 10:37 remaining before Utah answered with a 19-6 spurt to move within 13 points with 3:56 to play. Morris made all five of his first-half three-point attempts while leading the Clippers to the 24-point edge at the break.
The Clippers held a 20-6 lead after Leonard’s basket just six-and-a-half minutes into the game, eventually seeing out the quarter with a 30-13 cushion as they took control early.
They kept their foot on the pedal, and two free throws by Morris increased the lead to 51-22 with 5:21 left in the first half, during which Mitchell scored 21 points.