Column: Clippers still searching for answers to keep pace with Jazz

Venting his frustration after the Jazz had given up a 21-point lead over the Clippers and fell behind by two points near the middle of the fourth quarter Thursday, Utah guard Donovan Mitchell took a detour on the way to his team’s huddle and suddenly kicked out his right foot, flipping up the seat of an innocent chair along the sideline.

Kicking a hard, metal object might not have been the best idea for a player who missed the last 16 games of the regular season and the opener of Utah’s first-round playoff series against Memphis because of a sprained right ankle. Especially since Mitchell had been limping at times during a 117-111 Utah victory, including after a late-game collision with Clippers guard Paul George.

Not to worry, Mitchell said. “I got hit and it hurt. I’m fine now. I walked in here,” he said during a postgame media session at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City. “If you want me to sprint for you, I can. I’m good.”

No one took him up on that. Yet at the pace he’s going, the Jazz will leave the Clippers in the dust and sprint into the Western Conference finals.

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Yes, the Clippers faced a 2-0 deficit in the first round against Dallas and developed a strong enough backbone to rally and win the series in seven games. Come crunch time, they inflicted the damage for once, instead of being reduced…

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