Clippers stymie Jazz to salvage series as Donovan Mitchell sits down the stretch

The Los Angeles Clippers aren't done yet.

And the sprained right ankle that cost Donovan Mitchell the stretch run of the regular season is still a problem.

Facing the prospect of an 0-3 deficit against the NBA's best regular-season team, the Clippers held court at home on Saturday to salvage their series with a 132-106 win over the Utah Jazz. Utah jumped out in front early, opening an 8-0 lead that forced Clippers coach Tyronn Lue to burn a timeout 1:14 into the game.

But Los Angeles settled in after the early Utah run, holding Mitchell scoreless in a first quarter the Clippers led 27-23. Mitchell caught fire for 16 points in the second, but the Clippers extended their lead to carry a 64-49 edge into halftime. Utah threatened to make a second-half run, but stood no chance when Mitchell appeared to tweak his injured ankle and left for the locker room.

Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers passes through the defense of Rudy Gobert #27 and Miye Oni #81 of the Utah Jazz during the first half of a game at Staples Center on June 12, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Clippers deliver decisive blow with Mitchell sidelined

The Clippers led 106-95 when Mitchell left the floor. He didn't take long to rejoin his teammates on the bench, but the Clippers reeled off a 10-0 run to ensure that there was no reason for Jazz head coach Quin Snyder to risk putting his superstar back on the floor. This one was over.

Mitchell continued to receive ankle treatment on the bench, but gave a thumbs-up gesture as if to suggest he's OK. He limped off the court with a wrap around his ankle as the clock ran out on the Clippers blowout. Game 4 is scheduled for Monday at Staples Center with Utah holding a 2-1 lead.

Kawhi Leonard led the Clippers effort, tallying 34 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and two steals. Paul George had his best game of the series with 31 points and five assists while connecting on 6-of-10 3-point attempts. And he wasn't the only hot shooter in a Clippers jersey on Saturday.

The Clippers shot 56.2% from the field and connected on 19-of-36 (52.8%) 3-point attempts as a team playing in front of their home crowd. The Jazz couldn't keep pace while shooting 42.9% from the field.

Snyder: Mitchell's 'in good shape'

Mitchell, who said after tweaking that same ankle of the end of Game 3 that he's "fine now" didn't appear to be bothered for most of his 30-point, five-rebound, four-assist effort. He recovered from his slow start to lead the Jazz in scoring while connecting on 4-of-9 3-point attempts. It just wasn't enough to compete on a night where the Clippers were at their best on offense.

Snyder confirmed that Mitchell could have returned if the game was competitive and believes he'll be ready for Game 4.

"He’s in good shape," Snyder told reporters. "He could have gone back in the game."

That Jazz are -225 betting favorites to win the series.

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