NBA PlayoffsGordon Hayward, Derrick Favors Propel Jazz to Game 7 Road Win vs. ClippersTyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistApril 30, 2017Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images
The Utah Jazz may have finally struck the final death blow to the "Lob City" Los Angeles Clippers.
Gordon Hayward scored 26 points and Derrick Favors had a double-double off the bench, and the Jazz defense clamped down on their way to a convincing 104-91 win over the Clippers in Los Angeles. Utah will advance to the Western Conference semifinals to face the Golden State Warriors after winning the best-of-seven series, 4-3.
The Clippers shot 43.8 percent as a team, including a dispiriting 6-of-25 performance from beyond the arc. Chris Paul was limited to 13 points on 19 shots, and DeAndre Jordan (24 points, 17 rebounds) was the only other Clippers starter in double figures.
Many pointed to the state of Clippers disappointment during the second half:
Brandon Awadis @brawadis
Cp3 gone. Blake gone. DJ stuck & depressed as the centerpiece lol
4/30/2017, 9:31:08 PM
Shea Serrano @SheaSerrano
i just want chris paul in at least one high stakes playoff game why won't the universe let that happen 😔
4/30/2017, 9:28:18 PM
Utah led by as many as 21 points in the second half, while the Clippers never led by more than one all game. The Jazz held Los Angeles to 39 first-half points, and the Clippers had nearly as many turnovers (six) as field goals (seven) in the second quarter.
Playing most of the game without center Rudy Gobert, who was limited to 13 minutes due to foul trouble, Favors took over in the middle before fouling out himself. He finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds and three assists in by far his best outing of the series. Favors had scored fewer than five points in three of the previous four games.
B/R's Andy Bailey wasn't a fan of how the game was called from an officiating standpoint:
Andy Bailey @AndrewDBailey
What a poorly called game for Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors. Incredibly bad.
4/30/2017, 9:49:39 PM
Nineteen of Hayward's 26 points came in the second half, and he was critical to keeping the Clippers' fourth-quarter comeback bid at bay. Los Angeles got the game as close as eight points after a JJ Redick three with 3:28 remaining.
Joe Johnson, excellent throughout the series off the bench, finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Rodney Hood also added 11 points; all three Jazz reserves who played double-digit minutes had at least 10 points.
The Clippers were led by a 20-point effort from Jamal Crawford off the bench but were offensively disjointed throughout. With Paul struggling, nearly every Clippers player had trouble getting their shots to fall.
Paul Pierce, playing in his final NBA game, had six points in 22 minutes. Many on Twitter took time out to congratulate Pierce on an excellent career:
The Ringer @ringer
Farewell to the Truth, @paulpierce34 https://t.co/4qKn5ptOos
4/30/2017, 10:10:42 PM
It's been real @paulpierce34 https://t.co/OMqI7WlDQ8
4/30/2017, 10:12:55 PM
While Pierce's future has already been decided, the Clippers are about to enter an offseason of uncertainty.
Yaya Dubin @JADubin5
Goodbye forever, Paul Pierce. You haunted my dreams and I will not miss you.
4/30/2017, 10:10:46 PM
Paul, Blake Griffin and Redick are all (very likely) heading into unrestricted free agency this summer. The Paul-Griffin pairing has brought the Clippers to heights their franchise has never seen but has consistently fallen short in the postseason. This is the second straight year they've been ousted in the first round, and this core has never gotten past the second round.
Reports have indicated Paul and Griffin have already committed to re-signing with Los Angeles, but things change. Paul could be a free-agent target of a number of teams and could wind up deciding his chase for a ring is better off elsewhere—perhaps San Antonio, where longtime point guard Tony Parker is past his prime. Griffin played college basketball at Oklahoma and might see greener pastures teaming with the Thunder in Oklahoma City.
Redick is an underrated cog in all of this, too. The Clippers, even with Paul and Griffin back, would not have financial flexibility to replace him if he leaves. We've already seen Doc Rivers' hand forced by Austin Rivers and Crawford, who got above-market contracts because they had all the leverage.
It's worth noting that Redick turns 33 in June and Paul 32 in May; it might not be in the team's best interest to give them long-term deals.
Long story short: It's going to be an interesting offseason in Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, the young Jazz ascend to the next round while their opponent is left to answer questions.