By Johnny Askounis/ email@example.com
The Utah Jazz went up 2-0 in the Western Conference Semifinals best-of-seven series versus the Los Angeles Clippers but lost the next four matches. They were eliminated on Friday evening, despite leading by a margin of 25 points early in the second half of Game 6.
“I think it was a tough series,” noted Rudy Gobert after his last appearance in the 2020-21 edition of the NBA, “They stayed together, played their style of basketball after going down 25 points. They kept trusting each other in knocking down shots. You have to give them credit.”
Gobert, 28, suffered an injury early in Game 6. Similar to Game 4 and Game 5, he went through foul trouble again Friday. Teammate Donovan Mitchell playing through an ankle injury certainly did not help. However, the main issue for the French big was the Clippers being prepared for him coming to help in defense and adjusting accordingly. The Los Angeles team really made the most of three-point opportunities presenting themselves, especially after the break.
“We will just have to be better. As a team, we must play all-star basketball and stay connected. Sometimes we get disconnected. Those games usually end up in losses,” mentioned Gobert commenting on the Game 6 meltdown.
He had 12 points, ten rebounds, and two assists failing to produce a block for the second game in a row. His 12.5 points, 11.7 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, and 1.0 steals per contest in the best-of-seven series were not enough to clinch a Western Conference Finals berth.
“We had a great year. We felt like we had all the weapons,” pointed out Gobert, “Hopefully, we learn from this and come back better and ready to play our style of basketball.”
The Jazz topped the Regular Season standings at 52-20. They went on to eliminate the Memphis Grizzlies in five games but did not make it past the second round of the postseason. The last Conference Finals appearance still dates back to 2007.
“I was thinking about the next year,” said Gobert regarding his first feelings after accepting the loss, “Honestly, about the pain of the last few years. I was trying to ask myself the right questions. You have to clear your mind to what we can do to make sure that this never happens again.”
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