Rudy Gobert’s strong message to Kawhi, Clippers small ball

Rudy Gobert Jazz Clippers Kawhi Leonard Paul George


The Utah Jazz won Game 1 thanks in large part to Rudy Gobert. The Los Angeles Clippers were a three-point shot away from tying things up, before Gobert flexed his Defensive Player of the Year chops.

Check out the Jazz center denying the Clippers extra time:

— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 9, 2021

The Clippers tried to use the common playoff strategy against Gobert, utilizing five out lineups with no true center so that Gobert would be forced to defend on the perimeter instead of manning the paint in the middle. But given how Rudy found a way to get a stop out at the three-point line to end the game, he can more than hold his own. Gobert had a strong message for LAC’s small ball tactics, via The Salt Lake City Tribune’s Eric Walden.

Rudy Gobert, on the Clippers going smallball: “The numbers back it up: I’m comfortable guarding any lineup.”
— Eric Walden (@tribjazz) June 9, 2021

Rudy Gobert, on his game-sealing block: “I kind of faked help and knew they were going to go to Morris. So I just tried to contest as best as I could.”
— Eric Walden (@tribjazz) June 9, 2021

Gobert and fellow Jazz All-Star Donovan Mitchell provided a fire and ice performance to take Game 1. Mitchell erupted for 45 points to bring the pain on offense, while Gobert kept a low profile from a scoring standpoint. The big man finished with just 10 points, making only two field goals out of six attempts.

Rudy Gobert, on the Jazz’s offensive turnaround: “We came out flat, we were rushing shots. … We knew that in the second half, Donovan was gonna come out aggressive. He did a great job not settling for jump shots, but attacking them.”
— Eric Walden (@tribjazz) June 9, 2021

But Rudy Gobert did what he always does, forcing opposing offensive players to think twice before attacking inside. The last play of the game proved they aren’t safe from Gobert’s reach even outside the paint. The Utah Jazz need that same energy from both their stars as they look to take a 2-0 lead in Game 2.

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