Paul George rallies The Clippers to Game 5 win over Jazz

Once stunned into silence on a night where the expected outcome had not come to pass, the 18,007 inside the arena had begun to regain their belief, and volume, as Clippers teammate Paul George made free throws to push their lead to seven with three minutes remaining. And as he shot, Beverley waved his arms, signaling for more before the Clippers’ finished an improbable 119-111 victory over the Utah Jazz.

Consider his position: It was hard for the noise to get any louder than what the Clippers had already heard Wednesday, long before tipoff. In the hours after All-Star Kawhi Leonard was ruled out for Game 5 of this second-round series because of a strained right knee that could sideline him the rest of this series, if not beyond depending on the injury’s still-unknown severity, gambling odds tilted toward the Jazz.

A sports-talk radio host in Los Angeles described himself as thankful that order had seemingly been restored — a twisted end to a promising Clippers season. If Phoenix, awaiting the winner of this matchup in the Western Conference finals, had fired up film of the Jazz, it might have been understandable.

Leonard, the all-NBA force who had averaged more than 30 points in this postseason, has been that valuable for the Clippers. But removing him from the lineup did not remove the unshakeable confidence this roster forged through short-handed February nights, a May comeback against Dallas and this June encore against the Jazz. Only seconds after George’s free throws, Terrance Mann drove the baseline against 7-foot Rudy Gobert and dunked over the outreached arm of the three-time defensive player of the year.

The victory stakes the Clippers to a 3-2 lead entering Game 6 Friday in Los Angeles and was as loud as any postseason statement the franchise has made in its recent history. Without Leonard, George led the Clippers in points (37), rebounds (16) and assists (5) to push the franchise one victory away from their first conference final berth and, personally, push back after his …

Kawhi Leonard, Paul George rise to occasion, and L.A. has found its blueprint

The Los Angeles Clippers are living dangerously in these playoffs, falling behind 2-0 in each of their first two series. Yet, here they are wrestling back control in the nick of time again, defeating the Jazz 118-104 on Monday night to even their second-round series 2-2, just as they did against the Mavericks in the first round.

Game 5 is Wednesday night in Utah.

It feels like all the momentum has swung the Clippers’ way. Kawhi Leonard, who has arguably been the best player in this postseason, was fantastic on both ends, finishing with 31 points. And what can you say about Paul George?

We’re going to need to bring this P.G. roast to an end. The man is playing terrific, and quietly has been through most of this postseason, and he has for most of his career. He brought on much of the mocking with the self-proclaimed nickname and the whole “that’s a bad shot” routine, but a few high-profile stinkers aside, there is no way you don’t want this on your team.

George finished with 31 points, nine rebounds and four assists. He was 4 for 10 from beyond the arc. He’s attacking with force and shooting with confidence, and the impressiveness of that cannot be understated given the spotlight that is on him. It feels like all of social media is just waiting for him to fail, and he’s aware of it. He has to be. It would be so easy for him to get hesitant. And yet he’s playing as though he is oblivious to it all. When he was subbed out for the last time in the fourth quarter, he left to a standing ovation. He deserved it. Good for him.

And good for the Clippers, who have seemingly dialed in their championship formula. That doesn’t mean they’re going to win it, but this is what gives them their best chance: Leonard and George play like stars and the defense suffocates with switches, aggressive rotations and ball pressure.

On Monday, the first half decided the …

Mitchell Drops 45 points to over-come the Clippers

The Los Angeles Clippers earned the right to take on the top-seeded Utah Jazz by beating the Dallas Mavericks in a Game 7 on Sunday afternoon. While Kawhi Leonard and company are certainly riding the momentum from that win into this series, nothing will come easy against Donovan Mitchell and the Jazz as Utah was the Western Conference’s top seed for a reason. As we enter the fourth quarter, we have a game on our hands as the Clippers and Jazz are all tied up.

Both of these teams have something to prove. The Clippers were bounced in the second round a year ago after they fell well short of their championship expectations. The Jazz made an even earlier exit in the postseason, losing in the first round to the Denver Nuggets, who went on to beat the Clippers in the next round after coming back from a 3-1 hole. Both of these teams will be hungry to prove that last season’s early playoff exits were just a blip in the grand scheme of things, but at the end of the day only one team can advance.

Rudy

For more on the NBA playoffs, we’ve got you covered with an in-depth look at the Clippers-Jazz series, the round-by-round playoff schedule, a breakdown of our expert predictions for both the second round and the entire postseason. Follow below for all the real-time updates throughout Game 1 between Los Angeles and Utah.…