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Mitchell scores 45 to lead Jazz over Clippers in Game 1 of Western semifinal

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell scored 16 points in the third quarter and fourth quarter to lead his team to a playoff win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday in Salt Lake City. Photo by CJ Gunther/EPA-EFE
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell scored 16 points in the third quarter and fourth quarter to lead his team to a playoff win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday in Salt Lake City. Photo by CJ Gunther/EPA-EFE

June 9 (UPI) -- All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell scored 32 of his game-high 45 points in the second half to help the Utah Jazz beat the Los Angeles Clippers Tuesday night and take a 1-0 lead in their Western Conference Semifinals series.

Mitchell battled nausea and was light-headed in the first half, but exploded down the stretch of the 112-109 triumph at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City.

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"I was definitely feeling it," Mitchell told reporters. "Sometimes you just have to dig deep into a different place. I was getting my [expletive] kicked in the first half.

"There were situations where I was being lazy. I went into halftime and said I have to find a way."

The Jazz started the game on a 10-2 run, but went ice cold for the rest of the opening quarter. The Clippers responded with a 22-2 run and led 25-18 at the end of the first 12 minutes.

The Clippers outscored the Jazz 35-29 in the second quarter to lead 60-47 at halftime. Utah started the third quarter on a 12-2 run to cut the Clippers lead to three. The lead changed later in the quarter and the game was tied at 79 at the start of the final fame.

Mitchell, who scored 16 points in each of the final two quarters, helped the Jazz earn a six-point lead midway through the fourth. The Jazz increased the edge to 10 points, but the Clippers rallied and nearly forced overtime.

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Paul George hit a 3-pointer with 38.4 seconds remaining to cap the late 8-2 run, which cut the Jazz lead to three. Mitchell missed a shot on the next possession, but the Clippers were not able to answer on the other end before the clock expired.

Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic and guard Jordan Clarkson scored 18 points apiece in the win and center Rudy Gobert chipped in 10 points and 12 rebounds.

Kawhi Leonard paced the Clippers with 23 points, George scored 20 points with 10 rebounds and Luke Kennard chipped in 18 points off the bench.

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"We had a pretty good rhythm in the first half and came into the third quarter flat," Leonard told reporters. "They are a good defensive team and played hard.

"They fought the whole game and got the win."

The Jazz host the Clippers for Game 2 of the series Thursday at 8 p.m. MDT.

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