NBA playoffs

Clippers pull even with Jazz, but Kawhi Leonard leaves early

Reuters
Clippers pull even with Jazz, but Kawhi Leonard leaves early

STAR FORWARD. Kawhi Leonard exits Game 4 against the Jazz, but not without delivering a sterling performance for the Clippers.

Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers win back-to-back games to tie their Western Conference semifinals series against the Jazz at two games apiece

Kawhi Leonard recorded 31 points and 7 rebounds before exiting with an apparent injury as the Los Angeles Clippers notched a 118-104 victory over the Utah Jazz to tie their Western Conference semifinal series at two games apiece on Monday, June 14 (Tuesday, June 15, Manila time).

Paul George also scored 31 points and collected 9 rebounds as Los Angeles won its second straight game in the best-of-seven series. Marcus Morris Sr scored 22 of his 24 points during a first half in which the Clippers led by as many as 29 points.

Donovan Mitchell poured in 37 points to tie the Utah franchise playoff record of six straight 30-point outings held by Hall of Famer Karl Malone (three in 1995, three in 1996).

Leonard left the contest with 4:35 remaining and did not return. His departure came less than a minute after he grabbed at his right knee following a collision with the Jazz’s Joe Ingles.

Utah’s Mike Conley (hamstring) sat out and has missed all four games of the series.

Ingles scored 19 points and Bojan Bogdanovic added 18 for the top-seeded Jazz, who shot 43% from the field and were 17-of-42 (41%) from three-point range.

Fourth-seeded Los Angeles made 47% of its shots and hit 15-of-37 (41%) from behind the arc.

Ingles drained a three-pointer to pull Utah within 112-102 with 2:10 left before Los Angeles scored 6 of the next 7 points en route to closing it out.

Utah trailed 68-44 at halftime but trimmed its deficit to 14 early in the third quarter.

George tallied 5 points during a 9-3 burst to give the Clippers an 84-64 advantage with 4:12 left in the stanza.

Los Angeles took a 94-73 lead into the final stanza. A Luke Kennard three-pointer increased the Clippers’ advantage to 101-75 with 10:37 remaining before Utah answered with a 19-6 spurt to move within 13 points with 3:56 to play.

Morris made all five of his first-half three-point attempts while leading the Clippers to the 24-point edge at the break.

Los Angeles held a 20-6 lead after a Leonard basket just 6 1/2 minutes into the game. The Clippers led 30-13 after the conclusion of the quarter.

Los Angeles kept its foot on the pedal and two free throws by Morris increased the lead to 51-22 with 5:21 left in the first half.

Mitchell scored 21 points in the opening half. – Rappler.com