After a tough Game 3 victory, the Los Angeles Clippers came into Game 4 without their superstar, Blake Griffin, who will miss the remainder of the playoffs. For the Utah Jazz, Rudy Gobert made a surprising return, but Gordon Hayward had food poisoning which cut his night short.

The first half

It was a spectacular back-and-forth affair in the first half with neither team being able to create separation. Gobert was making his presence felt early with his outstanding rebounding and defense, while Jamal Crawford was doing his best to fill Griffin’s offensive void, scoring 15 first half points.

While Hayward was battling an illness, Derrick Favors stepped up in the first half, scoring 13 of his 17 points by halftime.

The Jazz used a late second quarter mini-run of 11-4 to take a three-point lead into intermission.

Chris Paul and Jamal Crawford scoring barrage

With Hayward out, Rodney Hood earned the start in the second half. However, the combination of Chris Paul and Crawford torched the Jazz through the third quarter where the Clippers were able to open up a six-point lead. The Jazz weathered the storm and kept the game close heading to the fourth period.

The Clippers played strong basketball to start the final period, extending to a seven-point lead around the seven-minute mark. But, once again the Jazz maintained composed and crawled back into the game.

Iso-Joe in full effect

After the Clippers had opened up a seven-point lead, the Jazz went to their trusted veteran Joe Johnson, who suddenly erupted down the stretch.

Running multiple isolation plays, Johnson scored 13 of his game-high 28 points in the final seven minutes of the game to lead his team to victory. If he wasn’t scoring, he was dishing out to his teammates out of the double team for wide open three-pointers.

The Jazz closed the game on a 25-11 run, winning 105-98 to tie the series at two apiece heading back to L.A.

Paul finished the game with 27 points, 12 assists, and nine rebounds, while Crawford added 25 points. For the Jazz, Johnson led the way with 28 points, five rebounds, and five assists, while Gobert recorded a double-double in his return with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Hood, who has struggled since recovering from multiple knee injuries, poured in 18 points off the bench.

Gordon Hayward’s status

After the first half, Hayward was sent home so that he could rest and recover. He only played nine minutes in Game 4 and recorded three points. The Jazz are uncertain if he will be able to travel to Los Angeles to play in Game 5, which is scheduled for Tuesday, April 25.

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