National Basketball Association
Utah at L.A. Clippers
When: 3:30 PM ET, Sunday, April 30, 2017
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Utah center Rudy Gobert's level of effectiveness will be observed closely when the Jazz visit the Los Angeles Clippers in Sunday's winner-take-all, first-round series finale. Gobert twisted his left ankle late in Friday's Game 6 and X-rays ruled out a serious injury, so he will be available for Game 7.
Gobert was hobbled with a knee injury earlier in the series and the Jazz need him to match up with Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, who is averaging 14 points and 13.8 rebounds in the series while recording six consecutive double-doubles. Point guard Chris Paul registered 29 points and eight assists in Friday's 98-93 do-or-die victory at Utah to even the series. "He is as competitive as a human being as I've ever been around," Clippers coach Doc Rivers told reporters. "When you put that with the talent and the will, that's why he has performances like this in big games." Utah small forward Gordon Hayward scored 31 points and has four 20-point outings in the series while Gobert is averaging 13.7 points and 11 rebounds over the past three games.TV:
3:30 p.m. ET, ABCABOUT THE JAZZ:
Utah hasn't won a playoff series since 2010 and it squandered a big opportunity by losing Game 6 at home. The Jazz received poor shooting performances from series star Joe Johnson (nine points on 3-of-9 shooting) and backup shooting guard Rodney Hood (four points on 2-of-10 shooting) and that sabotaged their ability to score. "I'm not sure if we got tired or got tired of missing," Utah coach Quin Snyder told reporters. "(The Clippers) were the more energetic team. Their physicality on the defensive end, we didn't respond offensively the way that we needed to, or as forceful as we needed to be. When you're not aggressive enough with your frame of mind, I don't think you shoot the ball as well."ABOUT THE CLIPPERS:
Los Angeles held a 91-77 edge with 3:58 left in Game 6 and had to hold off a frantic Utah charge to even the series. Paul helped quell the comeback attempt and will again be counted on heavily Sunday in a series in which he is averaging 27.3 points and 10 assists and topped 20 points in all six games. "He's so unselfish he wants to get other guys going, but sometimes we need him to get going," Jordan told reporters of Paul. "He's been able to do that in this series and just take advantage of whatever they're giving him and then still be able to get other guys involved and keep everybody engaged. As one of the leaders of this team, he's done a great job of that all season and even more in the playoffs."BUZZER BEATERS
1. The winner opens the Western Conference semifinals against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday.
2. Utah PG George Hill scored 22 points in Game 6 and is averaging 16.8 points in the series.
3. Los Angeles SG J.J. Redick is averaging just 10.2 points in the series and scored in single digits four times.PREDICTION:
Clippers 96, Jazz 94
Stats and Records