Vivint Smart Home Arena was crowded on Friday night when the home squad Utah Jazz hosted the Los Angeles Clippers. It was a playoff atmosphere at its finest with 20,000 fans in the stands supporting their team in Game 3 of this Western Conference first-round series. After Utah stunned the Clippers and won Game 1, LA answered with a win in Game 2. Both teams wanted to take the series lead in this Game 3. Jazz center Rudy Gobert did not play again due to a hyperextended left knee and bone contusion suffered 17 seconds into the series opener. Derrick Favors started at center in his place.

Big comeback win for the Clippers

Utah opened up the game with a 34-point first quarter. After LA took a 15-14 lead midway through the first period, the Jazz went on a 20-6 run and held a 34-21 lead after the first quarter. Gordon Hayward scored 21 points in that first quarter and shot 7-8 from the field. Hayward struggled in the first two games of the series, shooting only 36-percent, but on Friday night he was special. Hayward's 21 first-quarter points was a franchise playoff record for any quarter. Utah maintained that lead and at halftime it was 58-49 for the home team. Clippers managed to cut that lead down to two points (70-68) with 5 minutes left in the third quarter and the score was 84-82 in favor of Utah after three periods of playing time.

George Hill scored 13 points in that third quarter and surpassed the 1,000 career playoff points plateau in that period. Teams went back and forth in the fourth quarter and traded baskets. With 4:01 left in the game, and the Clippers down 94-96, Chris Paul took over. He personally outscored the Jazz 13-10 down the stretch and the Clippers came out with the win.

Final score was 111-106 for Doc Rivers' team. Los Angeles outrebounded Utah 41-27 on Friday night and shot 54.7% from the field. The Jazz made 14 three pointers and shot 41.2% from behind the arc.

Hayward's 40-point effort not enough

Utah's All-Star Gordon Hayward finished the game with a career-high 40 points. He scored 21 points in the first but only had one basket in the fourth quarter.

Hayward added eight rebounds and four assists on Friday night. He became the 4th different player in Jazz postseason history with a 40-point game joining Karl Malone, Adrian Dantley and Carlos Boozer. George Hill added 26 points and four rebounds for Utah while Joe Johnson helped with 15 points.

Chris Paul was the leading scorer for Los Angeles in Game 3. He scored 34 points, dished 10 assists and grabbed seven rebounds. DeAndre Jordan added 17 points and 13 rebounds while Luc Mbah a Moute scored a career playoff-high 15 points. Clippers played the entire second half without the injured Blake Griffin.

Game 4 is on Sunday in Salt Lake City.