Johnson scores 28, Jazz beat Clippers 105-98 to even series

Utah Jazz forward Joe Johnson (6) shoots as Los Angeles Clippers forward Luc Mbah a Moute (12) defends during the second half in Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Sunday, April 23, 2017, in Salt Lake City. The Jazz won 105-98. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY — Joe Johnson scored 28 points, and the Utah Jazz beat the Los Angeles Clippers 105-98 on Sunday night to tie their first-round playoff series at 2-all.

Johnson, who hit the winning shot in Game 1, scored 11 straight Jazz points during a crucial stretch in the fourth quarter, including a pull-up jumper for a 91-90 lead with 3:55 remaining after trailing by seven early in the period. The Clippers never led again after controlling the game for most of the night.

Rodney Hood and Joe Ingles also hit huge baskets for Utah down the stretch. The Jazz needed all the help they could get after Gordon Hayward left with food poisoning.

The series returns to Los Angeles for Game 5 on Tuesday night.

Chris Paul had 27 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds for Los Angeles, which played without Blake Griffin after he suffered a toe injury in Game 3. Griffin has been ruled out for the rest of the postseason, increasing the pressure on the rest of the Clippers.

Jamal Crawford scored 25 points, and DeAndre Jordan had 12 points and 10 rebounds. But Los Angeles shot 44 percent from the field, compared to 54.1 percent for Utah.

The Jazz got Rudy Gobert back from a knee injury, and the center finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds. But Hayward departed in the first half.


Clippers: Austin Rivers sat out again with a strained left hamstring. He has not played in the series. … Marreese Speights started in place of Griffin.

Jazz: Dante Exum, the No. 5 overall pick of the 2014 draft, made his first appearance of the playoffs. … Hood scored 18 points. Derrick Favors had 17 after being held to two in Game 3.


Hayward played just nine minutes. He spent much of the second quarter in the locker room and was ruled out at halftime. He scored just three points and looked physically sapped. The first-time All-Star was coming off a career-high 40-point effort in Game 3.


Gobert returned to the starting lineup after missing the last two games with a left knee hyperextension and bone contusion suffered 17 seconds into Game 1. The crowd roared with his announcement in the starting lineup and he moved well throughout, throwing down dunks and affecting shots on defense.


The Clippers are without Griffin for the rest of the playoffs after suffering a plantar plate injury to his right big toe in Game 3. Utah guard George Hill understands after missing 16 games with a big toe injury this season.

“You’ve got to think, your big toes are the main part of your body to help with balance and explosion and things like that,” Hill said. “Just like if you didn’t have thumbs, it’d be hard to do a lot of things in your daily life. Just think about your thumbs and big toes are your main points of your body. I’m sure it’s something that’s excruciating pain for him because I’ve been in that situation.”

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