• Trevor Cornelius

Los Angeles Rebounds After Loss

Rebounding was the name of the game in Salt Lake City on Friday night. The Los Angeles Clippers crashed the boards to a 111-106 victory over the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena due in large part to their work on the glass. The Clippers maintained the rebounding advantage despite losing forward Blake Griffin, who left the game with a bruised right toe late in the first half.

In the closing seconds, while attempting to inbound the ball underneath the Clippers’ basket, Jazz forward Gordon Hayward one armed a pass to half-court but the ball sailed past the outstretched hands of teammate Joe Johnson before hitting the scorer’s table and turning the ball over to the Clippers for a final possession.

Chris Paul, beginning his postgame statement with a quick chuckle, reacted to Blake Griffin’s injury and referenced his team’s history of incessant injuries during the playoffs.

“Being with what our team has been through, we’ve been through,” Paul began, before clearing his throat and adding, “tons of injuries, whether it was myself, whether it was Blake, and we’ve always shown ability to step up. The next guy steps up, Paul Pierce stepped up big, other guys that didn’t have to play but a few minutes. It was just a complete team effort. Stay ready. That’s our team motto. Just stay ready.”

Before he landed awkwardly and injured himself on a lay-up towards the end of the second quarter, Blake Griffin had six rebounds. The Clippers ended the game with 50 rebounds to the Jazz’s 37.

The Clippers tallied 49 rebounds in Game 1. In Game 2, they totaled 39 rebounds, but shot 52.4% from the field, compared to just 44.4% in Game 2. Statistically, Game 3 was the Clippers’ best performance in terms of shooting and rebounding. They grabbed 50 rebounds and scored 111 points while shooting 54.7% from the field.

Speaking on the game’s fluidity after Blake Griffin left the floor with an injury, Jazz head coach Quin Snyder commented with admiration to the Clippers’ “small ball” performance.

“The primary thing is that the game becomes about Chris Paul and the pick and roll. And he’s arguably the best person doing that in the league, as far as manufacturing the whole court. That puts a lot of stress on our defense.” Turning to the importance of getting rebounds, Snyder said, “You just keep trying to adjust the best you can and compete; the hard thing for us is when we did get some stops they got second shots.”

The Clippers are showing that rebounds matter and that mentality aligns with the philosophy of head coach Doc Rivers, who once said, “I’m looking for activity. I put players in and take them out based on effort and defense, not making or missing shots.”

The Clippers play in Salt Lake City again on Sunday and are looking to take a 3-1 series lead back to Los Angeles. Their rebounding has kept them in each game, and with Blake Griffin still questionable for action for Game 4, they must maintain the intensity on the glass.

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