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Los Angeles • Boris Diaw has enjoyed his time in Southern California, where he's been able to soak up some sunshine and dine in Beverly Hills. But the Utah Jazz forward would prefer his next visit here to be a vacation, not a work trip.
"We're definitely not trying to come back here," he said before leaving Staples Center late Tuesday night.
After their 96-92 Game 5 victory in L.A., the Jazz again have taken home-court advantage away from the Clippers and will have a chance to close out their first-round playoff series Friday in front of their home fans in Salt Lake City.
The veteran Diaw, an NBA champion who has been in a few of these things before, knows that won't be an easy task.
"It's going to be tough," he said. "It's all about closing out. … At the same time, you know the other team is desperate. They're going to try everything and they're going to play their all."
A win Friday would send the Jazz to the Western Conference semifinals for the first time since 2010, setting up a second-round matchup with a Golden State team that completed a four-game sweep of Portland.
The second round is tantalizingly close, but first thing's first: the Jazz have to stop Chris Paul and the Clippers one more time.
"Our back's against the wall," said Paul, the All-Star point guard who has averaged 27 points and 10 assists in the series. "We've got to do what we've got to do."
The Clippers have some experience with these situations. Paul's team rallied from a 3-2 deficit to beat the Spurs in the first round of the playoffs in 2015.
"We have to have the desperation going up to Utah and winning," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "We've won there before. We've won in the playoffs there before. This team is not going to quit, I can tell you that. You can see when they were in the locker room."
The Jazz locker room, too, was all business after their Game 5 win.
"You cannot be overexcited or overly happy," said Diaw, dressed in a gray pinstriped suit. "There's still one more game to win to close the series. We're already back focusing on the next game."
Joe Johnson, the veteran forward whose heroics lifted the Jazz to wins in Games 1 and 3, reminded his teammates of the work left to be done.
"We have to go home with a business mindset and not be over confident, but be confident enough," he said. "This has to be our Game 7 in Game 6."
The Jazz want their next trip West to be to Oakland, not L.A.
"We have to treat this one as a must-win," Jazz forward Gordon Hayward said on the podium after he had scored a team-high 27 points in Tuesday's victory. "We want to close it out in Salt Lake City. We definitely don't want to come back here for Game 7."