The Utah Jazz dug deep in the second half of Game 2 to secure a 117-111 win against the LA Clippers on Thursday. Donovan Mitchell led Quin Snyder's unit once again, but he had enough help with five Jazz players scoring in double digits.
The Utah Jazz looked comfortable from the start and led by as many as 21 points in the third quarter on the back of their efficient shooting. The LA Clippers then switched to a zone defense to stop the bleeding and started a run of their own. They even claimed a two-point lead.
That's when all of the Utah Jazz's role players stepped up to mount a run of their own. Joe Ingles made some big shots, Bojan Bogdanovic played good defense on Kawhi Leonard, while Rudy Gobert controlled the paint as the LA Clippers went on a drought down the stretch.
The Utah Jazz were able to control proceedings again and escape with the win. Without further ado, let's look at the five talking points from the game.
#1 LA Clippers continue to seek answers for Donovan Mitchell
Donovan Mitchell has been absolutely phenomenal in the first two games of this series. He had 45 points on Tuesday and finished with 37 today. Mitchell's fiery shooting allowed the Utah Jazz to rush to an early lead and command the flow of the game. He had 27 points on 11-of-16 shooting in the first half itself.
The LA Clippers double-teamed Mitchell to start the third quarter, but he used that opportunity to create a dunk for Gobert and a three-pointer for Bogdanovic. The two-time All-Star struggled from the field the rest of the way, but he made two baskets at the rim down the stretch to effectively seal the win for the Utah Jazz.
#2 Reggie Jackson's second-half burst gave LA Clippers a chance against the Utah Jazz
The LA Clippers were staring at a blowout in the third quarter with the scoreboard reading 76-55 in the Utah Jazz's favor. The visitors managed to slow down the Jazz's offensive juggernaut, but still needed to bridge the gap by dropping some buckets. That's when Reggie Jackson went into overdrive.
Jackson scored 16 points in the third quarter and carried his hot hand into the fourth as the LA Clippers inched closer. He scored two back-to-back three-pointers to give Tyronn Lue's unit their only lead of the game.
Reggie Jackson led his side in scoring in Game 2, finishing with 29 points on 11-of-19 shooting. Had it not been for his 24-point burst in the second half, the LA Clippers would've stood no chance of rallying back in this game.
#3 Rudy Gobert shows why he's the Defensive Player of the Year
Rudy Gobert was almost entirely impenetrable in the paint today and nobody stood a chance against him on the glass. Ty Lue tried tiring out the Stifle Tower by playing each of Nicolas Batum, Ivica Zubac and DeMarcus Cousins against him, but Gobert didn't budge.
The Frenchman had 13 points and 20 rebounds against the LA Clippers. More importantly, he had key reads to force three blocks and two steals. The likes of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard seemed disinterested in attacking the paint when Gobert was on the court.
#4 Paul George and Kawhi Leonard need to step up for the LA Clippers
Both Paul George and Kawhi Leonard had decent box scores against the Utah Jazz tonight. George finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds and six assists while Leonard had 21 points, four rebounds and five assists.
George played a huge role in stopping the Jazz's flurry of baskets in the third quarter and Leonard also made two huge steals in the clutch. But collectively, their performances counted for nothing as the LA Clippers slipped to another loss.
Both Paul George and Kawhi Leonard have been left wanting in the early phases of games in the 2021 playoffs. They've managed to produce numbers, but are rarely dominant from the get-go. The duo will need to play consistently through four quarters if the LA Clippers are to make a comeback in this series.
#5 Three-point shooting makes the eventual difference for the Utah Jazz
Both the Utah Jazz and LA Clippers are heavily reliant on their three-point shooting. The Jazz averaged a league-best 16.7 three-pointers made during the regular season, while the Clippers led the NBA in three-point accuracy, shooting 41.1% from three.
While the Utah Jazz were on point from distance in tonight's game, the LA Clippers struggled to match their opponents. The Jazz went 20-of-39 from downtown tonight, while the visitors managed just 11 makes on 36.7% shooting.
Jordan Clarkson went 6-of-9 from deep and scored 24 points. Donovan Mitchell also had six makes from downtown. In comparison, Marcus Morris Sr. missed each of his five three-point attempts and that worked out in the Utah Jazz's favor.
Also read: LA Clippers 111-117 Utah Jazz: Donovan Mitchell drops 37 points in a scintillating performance, outplays Kawhi Leonard and Paul George; here's how Twitter reacted to Game 2 | 2021 NBA Playoffs Round 2