We all knew experience would be key in the Jazz-Clippers series, but I didn’t predict the Jazz would have the advantage. That advantage is their experience in adversity.
I was not optimistic about the Jazz’ chances in Saturday’s game. The inexperienced Jazz were going up against the very playoff experienced Clippers. My slight hope went to zero 20 seconds in. I counted the Jazz out and you would be lying if you said you didn’t too.
Watching the Jazz had been painful all year. The injury report has been full and, the little bit of time they have had a full roster, they have looked really good. It was frustrating to watch and I know it’s been frustrating for the team. All that frustration paid off Saturday.
Our Utah Jazz did not panic when Rudy went down. They rallied together and played like they had dealt with it before because they had. The Utah Jazz were so used to playing a man down they were able to treat it like another day at the office.
On the other side, the Clippers had another set of experience, but this experience was haunting them. With every run the Jazz went on the Clippers stopped playing against the Jazz and started to play against the ghosts from playoffs past. You could see it in their body language. The doubt was settling in. They still had the talent to keep it close till the end.
The Jazz took advantage and showed great mental toughness. They leaned on the players with playoff experience. Joe Johnson went iso Joe and saved the day I the end in game 1. We learned a lot about the mental aspect of this series. The Clippers have the best player on the court but the Jazz have more mental toughness.
Is it sustainable?
The Clippers adjusted to the absence of Gobert in game two and got a lot of dunks and layups. Now the Jazz have to adjust. The Clips lead wire to wire the Jazz never got that run that helped bring that doubt in.
Game 2 showed how important Rudy Gobert is the Jazz lost the battle of the boards and in the paint Deandre Jordan did whatever he wanted because of the absence of the French Rejection. It’s not sustainable and the Jazz need Rudy back.
The Jazz need to come out and put that doubt back in the Clippers mind. They need to win both games 3 and 4 and keep all the pressure on the team who is fighting its own demons. They can do it and I believe they will win without Gobert in Game 3 and Rudy will return in Game 4 and will help them win game 4. Jazz in 6! Go Jazz!