The Utah Jazz started slow and never recovered in Game 4 against the L.A. Clippers, and now the second-round series in tied 2-2 with Game 5 on Wednesday back in Salt Lake City.
During the game, Kawhi Leonard broke the internet, Jordan Clarkson played hero ball, Donovan Mitchell had a stellar second quarter and eventually another good game. People on social media talked about all that and more.
Jerry West is the logo
The TNT broadcast showed NBA legend and Clippers executive Jerry West talking to team owner Steve Ballmer not long before the game ended. The shot just so happened to show him next to the league’s logo, which is a silhouette of West himself.
Needless to say, social media users had fun with that.
Kawhi Leonard appears to hurt knee
Leonard drove to the basket in the fourth quarter and planted in such a way that caused him to apparently hurt his knee. He reached down for it at the time and when he shot a couple of free throws, he was noticeably grimacing as he tried to walk it off.
Fans were worried about Leonard and due to the big lead the Clippers had, clamored for him to get subbed out of the game.
Clippers go after Derrick Favors
The Jazz had cut their deficit to just 14 in the first few minutes of the third quarter when Derrick Favors entered the game as he normally does in Quin Snyder’s rotation. After that, the Clippers went on a run by attacking the paint — where Rudy Gobert defends best — and built up a 20-point lead.
People on social media criticized not only Snyder’s decision in that moment, but also Favors’s play.
Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley on Jazz’s first half.
It was no secret to anyone watching the first half of the game that the Jazz did not play well and the Clippers did. And Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley on the TNT broadcast at halftime gave their analysis of what went on.
Barkley said the Jazz really miss Mike Conley, who missed this fourth straight game of the series with a hamstring injury. As a result, Utah played through Donovan Mitchell on offense. For Barkley, that’s no longer a winning recipe for the Jazz.
“Donovan Mitchell really is just playing one-on-one basketball,” Barkley said. “It worked in Utah. It’s not working in L.A. It’s the same game plan. They just give the ball to Donovan and if those other guys make shots, they win.”
Smith meanwhile said Utah’s problems stemmed from the defensive side of the ball.
“Utah defensively have not given any kind of execution of a defensive scheme,” Smith said. “Guys are going where they want to, moving where they want to. Morris is having a field day [because they’re] leaving him open. There’s no contesting. … There’s nobody in your face. None whatsoever.”
Kawhi Leonard with a poster
Leonard had himself an excellent first half. But his highlight dunk was one for his personal highlight reel, and fans and reporters lost their collective minds on social media.
Even Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid reacted to Leonard’s dunk in real time.
Mitchell’s sizzling second quarter
After scoring just four points in the first quarter, Mitchell found his offensive rhythm in an effort to chip away at an ugly first-half Jazz deficit as much as possible.
Mitchell ended up with 21 points in the first half.
Some fans also made the point that the rest Mitchell’s teammates weren’t providing much support.
Mitchell looking unhealthy
Mitchell admitted after Game 3 that he feels pain in his hurt ankle when he lands. Despite him being less than 100%, he still started Game 4 and tried to be as aggressive as he could.
But Mitchell got off to a rocky start in the game, scoring only four points in the first quarter. Those on social media noticed that Mitchell didn’t look healthy.
Jordan Clarkson shot selection
Clarkson, the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year, shot 1-for-5 in the first quarter and the first couple minutes of the second. That one shot he made was a 3-pointer.
But fans were exasperated at his decision-making, especially due to the fact he was sometimes guarded by Kawhi Leonard.
Jazz turnovers and slow start
Utah turned the ball over five times early in the game and made as many field goals. That led to a double-digit Clippers lead and many fans and media to talk about how badly the Jazz were playing.