LOS ANGELES — The Utah Jazz blew a 25-point lead Friday night, losing their fourth-straight game against the Los Angeles Clippers, and with it, the Western Conference semi-finals series.
After the first half, Utah's playoff hopes looked like they could still be alive in the elimination game.
The lead changed hands back and forth several times in the first quarter and the start of the second, but then the Jazz took off — largely thanks to Jordan Clarkson.
Clarkson, the 2021 NBA Sixth Man of the Year, scored 17 straight points for the Jazz, and they ended the first half with a 22-point lead. Then they extended their lead to 25 early in the third quarter.
But their dominance didn't last long.
L.A. cut the lead down to just three points by the end of the third quarter, including a a 17-0 run.
The Clippers then tied the game up in the first minute of the fourth quarter, then took the lead shortly thereafter.
Utah then found themselves trying to catch up through nearly the entire fourth quarter, but couldn't manage to do so.
The final score was 131-119 for the Clippers. They will advance to the conference finals against the Phoenix Suns.
Utah's loss came despite all three of its All-Stars finally in the starting lineup for the first time in the series -- and with Clippers superstar Kawhi Leonard out with an injury.
Donovan Mitchell, despite being visibly pained from his late-season ankle injury, led the Jazz with 39 points, nine assists and nine rebounds. It was unsure until less than an hour before tip-off whether Mitchell and Mike Conley would play. The team announced that they would, putting Conley on the floor for the first time since Utah clinched their first-round series win against the Memphis Grizzlies. Conley injured his hamstring in the game.
The Clippers were helped by an incredible performance by Terrance Mann, just a second-year player who started in Leonard's place. He scored 39 points Friday night.