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  • Writer's pictureDaniel Palmore

Last Night's End to Clippers vs. Jazz was Deja Vu for Utah Players and Fans

Last night was a great night of NBA basketball. Kevin Durant went off for 41 points against the Pistons, the Bucks and the Sixers played in a thriller where Giannis and Embiid went at each other all night long, and the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers played in a thrilling game that went all the way to the end. Although, it really shouldn't have.

Image provided by the Salt Lake Tribune

Last night's game between the Clippers and the Jazz marked Utah's first time playing the Clippers at arena since their heartbreaking collapse in game six of last year's Western Conference Semifinals. Just to rewind the clock, Utah was down 3-2 heading into game six after having a commanding 2-0 series lead along with a huge break in Kawhi Leonard tearing his ACL in the middle of the series. For a while, it looked like the series was going to go to a game seven in Utah as the Jazz jumped out to a 25 point lead in the third quarter and left the Clippers with no answers on how to stop them. However, the Clippers kept fighting back and cut Utah's 25 point lead to just three at the end of the third quarter. In the fourth, the Jazz got outscored 40-25 and saw their season come to a crushing end. It was another series in which the Jazz had firm control of and let slip away. The previous year, they had a 3-1 lead against Jamal Murray's and Nikola Jokic's Nuggets in the bubble and ended up losing the series in seven games.

Image provided by Clips Nation

Last night's game was also big for the Los Angeles Clippers because it marked the return of Paul George, who had been out of the lineup since December 22nd with a right elbow injury. Just like game six in last year's playoffs, the Jazz went up by as many as 25 points and looked to have firm control of this game. However, Paul George was sensational in his return to the lineup as he scored 34 points on 50% shooting from the floor in 31 minutes of action. Utah entered the fourth quarter with a 12 point lead at 94-82 and proceeded to get outscored 39-21 in the fourth. Things got ugly for the Jazz as Quin Synder used Utah's final timeout with over four minutes left to challenge what would have been Rudy Gobert's fifth personal foul. The Jazz lost the challenge and towards the end of the game, Donovan Mitchell picked up a technical foul as he tried to call for timeout when the team had none by mistake. During the postgame interview, Mitchell summed what what all Jazz players and fans were most likely thinking with the words, "It's the same s--t... It's the same thing. It's literally the same thing."

Image provided by Sky Sports

Terence Mann called the Jazz "Regular season animals" and although it is harsh, it's not inaccurate. The Jazz have clearly demonstrated over the past few years that closing games is an issue. These playoffs are going to be very important for them because if they have another early exit, don't be surprised if there's some shakeup with key names in Utah during the offseason.

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