The Jazz losing Hayward was Joe Johnson’s gain. He continued his turn-back-the-clock tour by going 12-of-17 from the field for 28 points in a season-high 35 minutes. Johnson shot 70.6 percent from the field, the best he has ever shot in a playoff game.
He was 5-of-7 for 13 points in the fourth quarter, even though all seven shots were contested by Clippers defenders. In one stretch, he scored 11 straight Jazz points. Johnson scored or assisted on 22 of the last 25 Jazz points.
“I guess he’s a tough shot maker,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said after the game.
Johnson is shooting 57 percent (29-of-51) on contested shots in this series. His teammates are shooting a combined 38 percent on their contested shots.
The Jazz outscored the Clippers by 11 points in the 39 minutes they played without Hayward. Their best five was Johnson, Joe Ingles, Rodney Hood, George Hill and Derrick Favors. That quintet was 17-of-25 from the field and outscored the Clippers, 43-35 over 15 minutes.
Though the Clippers previously survived without Griffin, this was a game in which they missed him. The Jazz outscored the Clippers 58-36 in the paint, a sharp contrast to Game 2 and 3, in which the Clippers outscored the Jazz by a combined 42 points in the paint.
The Clippers also cost themselves by not taking advantage of opportunities. The Jazz committed 12 turnovers, which the Clippers turned into four points. The Clippers committed nine turnovers, but the Jazz turned those into 17 points.
That’s the way this series has gone: It’s all about taking advantage of opportunities. Just ask those who filled in for Gobert, Griffin and Hayward along the way.