Johnson's Buzzer Beater Stuns Clippers in Game 1

Rivers had good reason to be grumpy: Utah Jazz forward Joe Johnson hit a buzzer-beater to hand his Los Angeles Clippers 97-95 loss in Game 1 of the teams' first-round National Basketball Association playoff series.

"I don't think there's anything wrong with taking a loss hard", forward Blake Griffin said. Playoffs start Saturday night and we will see who lands the first punch in this physical best of seven series after Game 1.

The Clippers tied the game with 13 seconds to play as Chris Paul got a high-banking layup to drop after a phenomenal individual effort all fourth quarter to drag his team to a chance to win.

Ron Boone mentioned on the broadcast that with Rudy Gobert out, the Jazz were going to have to make up for his rebounds and Hayward got 10. Johnson had 21 points while Hayward tallied 19.

Los Angeles beat them on the boards 40-34, but they also shot 44 percent from the field, 33 percent from three and made it to the free throw line just 17 times. "We've got to worry about us; know what I mean?" Gobert was setting a pick for Hayward when he and Mbah a Moute collided.

Harry How/Getty ImagesRudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz is helped off the court past head coach Quin Snyder, by Boris Diaw #33 and medical staff during the first half against the LA Clippers at Staples Center on April 15, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.

"It's kind of something I thought about last night on the way home", Griffin said. "But we have to play better", Rivers said, striking the balance between soothing and concerned. "But we'll find out". The other times? It's mostly Griffin finding himself too deep in the paint to recover on Johnson and the three times when he flails for a steal (that he never gets), exposing himself and leaving one of the game's best breakdown players open for a three or giving up two steps.

"We just tried to stay between him and the basket, because he's a load down there", Johnson said. "There's nothing we did that was creative or smart, we just chose to play it that way, and what we did is we had a player that made a play, and that's usually what it comes down to". Since the trade that brought Chris Paul to Los Angeles though, the Clippers have reversed their fortunes going 20-3 against the Jazz in that time. If Gobert's absence would certainly tilt the front-court balance toward the Clippers. "In some ways, that helped them". No one else in the league has more than four. "It's part of what I said, they were really aggressive defensively".

  • Angelo Rivera