Utah Center Rudy Gobert Injury Diagnosis: Hyperextended Knee

Hazel Gray
April 21, 2017

The Jazz seemed to be in deep trouble after starting center and Defensive Player of the Year candidate Rudy Gobert hurt his knee on a collison on the opening play of the game.

There was no immediate word on his status.

But any positive momentum generated by a seven-game winning streak disappeared Saturday when Utah's Joe Johnson delivered a 97-95 Game 1 win at Staples Center with a crowd-silencing runner at the buzzer. All told, the Jazz starters played just 14 regular season games together.

Sunday was more of a day for the Clippers to watch film of their inadequacies and their positives. Jonas Valanciunas had nine points and nine rebounds. He led the National Basketball Association in Defensive Win Shares (6.0), ranked third in overall Defensive Rating (99.2), 10th in Offensive Win Shares (8.3, ahead of Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and Giannis Antetokounmpo, to give you some perspective) and 13th in Box Plus/Minus (5.9). "So this year we're doing what we can to make sure guys are ready to roll, but you never know what's going to happen".

After a timeout by the Jazz, Griffin fouled Derrick Favors, who missed the first and made the second after it hit the rim and went in for a 95-93 lead with 18 seconds left. Joe Johnson was pressed into more minutes and scored 21 points.

"We felt a little bit stunned out there", Diaw said, "but then we regrouped and got back on the horse".

There's no question that he was the best player on the court on Saturday night, and, historically, Paul's always shown up in playoff games.

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He appeared in 81 games during his fourth season and his 66.1 field goal percentage was second in the league to Clippers centre DeAndre Jordan.

"Obviously, with Blake on him, it's not as easy to back down, or get to the spot he wants to get to". Losing a player is not good for any team, but when he's a top Defensive Player of the Year candidate, it's even worse.

Despite being at different ends of the contention cycle, these two teams have a lot more in common than you might think at first glance.

But the best part of the game was how the Jazz defended Blake Griffin.

For all the talk of the Clippers' core facing a reckoning this summer if they don't exorcise their playoff demons, the Jazz enter the offseason at their own treacherous crossroads.

Game Two of the best-of-seven series is on Tuesday. "There's nothing we did that was creative or smart, we just chose to play it that way, and what we did is we had a player that made a play, and that's usually what it comes down to".

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