I’ve always wanted to go to an NBA playoff game—I guess you could say it’s a bucket list item for me. Playoff tickets are more expensive due to the importance of each game in the series, but that had no weight in convincing me to buy tickets this time around.
My friend Jacob and I made a deal with one another that we’d get tickets to Game 4 between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City if the Jazz could win both games on the road to start the series. With two road wins, we would have a higher chance of seeing an elimination Game 4 on the condition that the Jazz manage to win Game 3 at home.
Not long after we made this deal, we caved and just decided to get Game 4 tickets anyway.
Going to Game 4 on Sunday will make for an action-packed weekend for me. Not only do I have the game to look forward to, but my friend Corbin who joined me for this week’s podcast is coming to my place to do an all-in NBA Playoff special podcast that Saturday as well. That podcast will be an in-depth analysis of each series, the stories surrounding them, as well as our predictions on who we think will win each one. While the podcast is going to be a ton of fun, we are definitely excited to be a part of the playoff atmosphere at the Vivint Smart Home Arena.
Game 1 didn’t start off on the right foot for the Utah Jazz. On the very first play of the game just 12 seconds in, Rudy Gobert got caught on a screen and hyperextended his left knee. Later on, the injury was categorized as a hyperextension with a bone contusion. As a potential Defensive Player of the Year, and my personal pick for the award, the Jazz will sorely miss him as they try to ward off the high-flying athleticism of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. The Jazz managed to get the win in Game 1 in Los Angeles thanks to a game-winning buzzer-beater by Joe Johnson. However, Game 2 did not end so well.
The Jazz got off to a slow start in Game 2, letting the Clippers go up by ten points early in the first quarter. They managed to bring it to within a three-point game I believe at one point, but every time they made a push the Clippers would answer right back with a quick run of their own. They REALLY needed Gobert for this one, as Blake and DeAndre destroyed them in the paint. By the end of the first half the Jazz allowed 18 points in the paint, and they had none for themselves. They ended up losing 99-91.
Game 3 airs at 10:00 PM ET from Salt Lake City. Rudy Gobert is officially ruled out for Game 3, although the MRI results said there was no structural damage to the ligament. He was also shooting around with caution in practice before Game 2—something Jazz fans should be happy to see. I’m hoping he is cleared to play in Game 4, so I can see the Jazz really compete for a first round success.
Game 4 starts at 9:00 PM ET in Salt Lake City. My group will head to the city from Southeast Idaho somewhere around 11:00 AM. We hope to get there in time for a late lunch and a little shopping before the game.
I look forward to documenting our trip for a fun recap article when we make it back. The atmosphere of Game 4 will depend on the outcome of Game 3. Either way, I know the city of Salt Lake will be cheering loudly for their home team to get the win.