What a series it was between the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Clippers.
While both teams finished with identical 51-31 regular-season records, the Clippers took three of four games against the Jazz. However, the Utah franchise turned it up a notch to pull out a 4-3 series win in Game 7.
The series provided buzzer-beaters, plenty of alley-oops as well as injuries to big-time players. Yet, it was easily the best playoff series of the bunch. So with that, here is a look back at five crazy stats in the wild series.
Will history repeat itself?
10 years ago, the Jazz lost the first two games against the Houston Rockets, before battling back to take the series in seven games with a thrilling 103-99 victory on the road. Before Sunday’s win, it was the last Game 7 win for the franchise. The Jazz went on to play Golden State — who they beat in five games — before falling to the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals.
So who do the Jazz play next after clinching the series win on Sunday? Yup, you guessed it, Golden State. The Jazz will take on the Warriors Tuesday in the best-of-seven-series. Is this a sign of good things to come? We’ll find out Tuesday.
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) May 1, 2017
Through the first five games in the series, the Jazz and the Clippers were twins. Both teams traded blows by taking games on the road, but it didn’t stop there.
The series was so evenly-matched that both teams even averaged 98 points per game through the first five games (495 points). And through six contests, four of them were less than two possession games. And last but not least, entering Game 7, both teams were nearly identical in the number of minutes with the lead as you can see in the ESPN graphic below.
Jazz-Clippers Game 7 is underway on ABC.
Entering this game, both teams have held a lead for nearly the exact same number of minutes. pic.twitter.com/WetQYgitfm
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 30, 2017
The Jazz became just the eighth team in NBA History to win Game 7 on the road by more than 10 points.
Impressively, Sunday’s game was the only double-digit win in the series which was on track to become just the fourth playoff contest to go seven games with each game being decided by less than 10 points.
Also, home teams went 2-5 in this series with the Jazz winning three times on the road. The franchise also improved to 3-2 all-time in Game 7s.
The series provided a lot of star power with the Clippers having Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, while the Jazz countered with the deadly duo of Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert.
But that was on paper. It wasn’t close to that in the series with Griffin — a five-time All-Star — going down in season-ending injury in Game 3.
The Jazz certainly benefited from it, but were also dealt a bad hand as Gobert left Game 1 just 15 seconds into the game after going down with a left-knee injury which went on to sideline him for the first three games in the series. After returning for two games, the 7-foot-1 center couldn’t catch a break as he sprained his ankle in Game 6.
Don’t forget about Hayward either. After scoring a career-high 40 points in Game 3, Jazz fans had to painfully watch as the franchise player sat on the bench after going down with food poisoning in Game 4. In total, all three players missed seven combined games.
For the second consecutive year, the Clippers made a first-round exit. Even more embarrassing, is that the Clippers became the first team in NBA history to blow a series lead in five straight postseasons.
Chris Paul also set a record by playing in his 76th playoff game, the most all-time by a player without a Conference Finals appearance.
The Clippers are the first team in NBA history to blow a series lead in five straight postseasons. pic.twitter.com/erZVz2RXRP
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 30, 2017