The Jazz started this game down 2-1 in the series to the Clippers and were in a must-win situation before heading back to Los Angeles for Game 5. There was good news for the Jazz as Rudy Gobert would be making his return, but before the game, it was also announced that Gordon Hayward was suffering from food poisoning. Hayward tried to play but ultimately left after nine minutes, unable to return.
So who would step up for the Jazz in time of need? Joe Johnson of course. The 35-year-old, seven-time All-Star, Joe Johnson. The Jazz were down by seven with seven minutes remaining and then Iso Joe took over. He finished the night with 28 points, 13 of those coming in the fourth quarter.
But the Iso Joe moniker may be unfair in this instance, because he was moving the ball well too, setting up Joe Ingles for big shots. Ingles finished the night with eight points and 11 assists.
The Utah Jazz had their first 50-win season since 2010 and it’s largely in part to their role players. Yes, they have Hayward and Gobert, who are two of the top players in the league. But it’s their role players who put them over the top. From Johnson to Derrick Favors, to Ingles and George Hill, this is a team that fights and scraps together. Not to mention, Gobert played quite well in his return, finishing the night with 15 points and 13 rebounds in 24 minutes.
This series is now tied 2-2 heading back to Los Angeles for Game 5 on Tuesday.