Playoff Preview: Clippers (4) - Jazz (5)

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert hopes to play again during the team's first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers despite suffering a knee injury in Game 1. Eight Jazz players scored before halftime, and as a unit, Utah has managed to keep itself in the game at the Staples Center.

Joe Johnson deserves a lot of credit for the initial defense, and not being run over by Griffin quickly.

After Paul banked in a floater to tie the game at 95 with 13 ticks remaining, Johnson went to work. Jamal Crawford showed early life off of the bench, but faded in the second half and finished just 4-12 from the field while displaying his normal porous defense. Johnson had 14 of his 21 in the first half, then took it slow for most of the second half before it was money time in the fourth quarter. It's entirely possible that we look back at this series and see it as a turning point for one, or both, of these franchises. When you look at our games that have been successful, it was our guards going downhill into the paint on Gobert and creating action. Gobert led the Jazz in rebounds, blocks and minutes played, missing just one game all season while the lineups juggled around him, and here he was getting knocked out of his playoff debut after one minute. No timetable for his return was given.

The game everyone assumed was over in the first seconds actually was not decided until the final second ticked off the clock.

The win was a huge boost for Utah, a team racked with injuries including the loss of Center Rudy Gobert late in the game.

Due to the scheduling quirks of the playoffs, the next game is not until Tuesday night. But on Saturday night, after driving through the lane to close range to launch a running layup that went rim-glass-rim before falling through for the 97-95 win, Johnson explained the secret of Iso Ball through the mind of the poor defender opposite him.

For the Jazz, this year was always about more than making the playoffs. When you're down two, you try to score. In 32 minutes of action, he scored 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting, including multiple key baskets down the stretch, and grabbed six rebounds.

The Clippers came into the series having taken the season series 3-1, in addition to having won 18 of their previous 20 matchups. Losing a player is not good for any team, but when he's a top Defensive Player of the Year candidate, it's even worse.

Let's say you were writing a movie script, and you really wanted to indicate a team was cursed in the most dramatic way possible.