(1) Jazz (2-0) at (4) Clippers (0-2)
- Time: 5:30PM PST – 7:30PM CST – 8:30PM EST
- Place: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
- TV: ABC
The moment of truth is here for the Los Angeles Clippers as they come into Saturday night’s battle with their backs against the wall in being down to in the best of seven series to an inflamed Donovan Mitchell and the hot shooting Utah Jazz.
The Clips staged a comeback in Thursday night’s 117-111 loss to the Jazz. Down 21, LA fought back and took a 101-99 lead with 6:37 to go on a three-point shot by Reggie Jackson. Bojan Bogdanovic, Joe Ingles, and Royce O’Neale hit threes in a 14-2 Utah run which gave the Jazz a 113-103 lead en route to their second win in the series.
The inability to even neutralize Mitchell has been the Los Angeles Clippers’ nemesis so far as he is averaging 40.5 points per game in the first two and he made 15-of-29 shots on Thursday as he made six threes and finished with 37.
The Jazz made 20-of-39 threes in the win as the 20 makes were a post-season record for Utah.
Jordan Clarkson netted 9-of-15 shots, six threes, as he scored 24 points to supplement Mitchell. Clarkson’s excellence was once again on center stage as a scorer/playmaker beside Mitchell is exactly what the Jazz needed with Mike Conley out with his hamstring issues for the second game in a row.
The Clippers also had the third scorer beside Kawhi Leonard and Paul George as Reggie Jackson led LA with 29 points as he was 11-of-19 and made four triples. George finished with 27 and Leonard bagged 21.
LA is down 0-2 for the second consecutive series and no team in NBA history has come from down 2-0 to win two series in the same playoff season.
Injuries to Key Contributors
- Utah Jazz – Mike Conley (hamstring) – Questionable
- Los Angeles Clippers – Serge Ibaka (back) – OUT
Jazz (45-31-2, ATS):
- Utah is 5-0-1 ATS in it’s last 6 games
- The Jazz have seen the total go OVER in 6 of their last 7 contests
- Utah is 10-3-1 ATS in their last 14 vs. the Clippers
Clippers (43-35-2, ATS):
- The UNDER has been the call in 4 of LAC’s last 6 games
- The Clippers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games
- The Clips are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games vs. the Jazz
Mitchell’s roll is starting to look like it is legendary as he is averaging 32.7 points in his six playoff games (remember he missed Game 1 vs. Memphis). He has made 48.2 percent of his shots so far and 41.9 percent from three (26-of-62). Jordan Clarkson stepping upon again is expected of a Sixth Man of the Year as he has made 22-of-65 tripled and Bojan Bogdanovic 19-of-41.
The Jazz spread the wealth on the three-ball and this spreads the Clippers thin when they shoot and make at the rate they consistently do. In addition, they now have six straight games where they have made at least 17 triples.
Key Jazz Stat:
Conley had 305 assists against only 99 turnovers this season as this averages out to over 3-to-1 as an assist-to-turnover ratio. Utah is likely going to need his output at some point in this series. The question for coach Quin Snyder is whether you use him now, up two, or allow him another game to rest the hammy and see if he is a go in Game 4 on Monday. His ball-handling skills are impeccable, as we know, as he has 43 assists vs. only 8 turnovers while making 17-of-31 triples (54.8%) in five playoff games.
Much of the talk around the Jazz is about the defensive output of Bojan Bogdanovic here in the playoffs. According to Desert News out of Salt Lake City, Kawhi Leonard has only seven points when Bogdanovic has been switched on him. Analytically, how often is this happening? Under what conditions? What caused the matchup?
Finally, what percentage of the possessions was Bogdanovic on him? I would love to have all of those answers, but without the game films and a plethora of time to adequately study, these are unanswered questions. This is a potentially budding story that could be a major headline as this series unfolds further.
|Teams||Spread||Money Line||Total Points|
|Jazz||+5 (-110)||+170||O 222 (-110)|
|Clippers||-5 (-110)||-200||U 222 (-110)|
Should Ty Lue put Kawhi Leonard on Mitchell like he did Luka Doncic in Game 6 and Game 7 against Dallas? This is some of the chatter around the Clippers camp, but Donovan Mitchell is a far more dynamic player that Doncic as we saw in Game 2 where he was scoring at a rampant rate, but became a facilitator when the Los Angeles Clippers started to blitz him to get the ball out of his hands.
Again, when Utah has five three-point shooters who can all get on a roll and spark a win, it’s impossible to play him man-up with Leonard, who has to be a scorer as well. The struggle has been real for Marcus Morris so far in this series as well. He is averaging only 8.5 points per game in the first two while shooting 8-25 in about 35 minutes per game.
Key Clippers Stat:
Paul George (23.5 ppg) and Kawhi Leonard (22.0 ppg) are 29-of-71 (40.8%) from the field in their first two games in this series. This is light years away from how they shot in the regular season as they averaged 48.1 points per game and shot about 49.4 percent from the field.
In the Clippers’ nine playoff games, they are at a combined 53.5 points per game and a combined 51.5 percent as Leonard, himself, is still shooting 58.2 percent for the playoffs.
Despite a plethora of bourgeoning issues, the Clippers have been close in both games. They led most of Game 1 and then came from 21 down to take the lead in Game 2. Getting home and getting into a friendly environment may aid them, but if they can’t deal with all of Mitchell’s facets, this will be a short series.
Winner: Clippers (-5) 119, Jazz 113