The Clippers are once again down 2-0 in a playoff series, after falling in excruciating fashion to the Utah Jazz Thursday. This time, they’ll have three games at home as they attempt to win four out of five.
Here’s how the Clippers dug themselves a familiar hole.
The team’s attempt to play big went poorly
The Clippers switched up their starting lineup for Game 2 and went back to the group that closed the regular season: Reggie Jackson, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Marcus Morris Sr., and Ivica Zubac. L.A. had found an identity playing small against Dallas and continued to do so in Game 1 with Nicolas Batum in Zubac’s place; but the team decided to shore up the interior defense after Donovan Mitchell got into the paint and scored at will in the opener against small lineups.
When Zubac was on the court in Game 1, Mitchell didn’t take a shot in the restricted area and drew three free throws. When Zubac was off the court, Mitchell took and made all three of his shots within five feet of the basket and took another seven in the paint, making four. He also earned five additional free throws. So when Zubac took the court to start Game 2, Mitchell and the Jazz didn’t challenge him near the basket — they challenged him on the perimeter.
Utah started the game by running pick-and-rolls with Rudy Gobert on four consecutive possessions, and…