Will The Clippers End a 50-Year Drought and Finally Make the Conference Finals?

Clippers Vs Jazz With 3 to 2 Clippers Series Lead

  • The L.A. Clippers are now -165 betting favorites to advance to their first-ever Conference Finals.
  • BetOnline has the Clippers as even money (+100) to finish the Jazz in Game 6.
  • Kawhi Leonard and Serge Ibaka are out for the Clippers but Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell are questionable for the Jazz.

The L.A. Clippers have been in the NBA for 51 seasons. They have never won an NBA or Conference title. They haven’t even made the Conference Finals, ever.

But that could change very soon, at least the Conference Finals thing. The Clippers head to Friday’s Game 6 at Staples Center with a 3-2 series lead over the Utah Jazz. A victory at Staples Center would end their half a century drought.

Game 6 on Friday

According to the sports gods, the Clippers have a good chance in doing that. Online sportsbook BetOnline now has the Clippers as the -165 betting favorite after stealing Game 5 in Utah. The Jazz, once solid favorites after winning the first two games of the series, are now slight underdogs at +145.

The same sportsbook says that the Clippers are favored to win the series 4-2 at +100. The odds of the Utah Jazz winning the last two games and salvaging the series is currently at + 150 but that may be overstated as 82% of the teams that win Game 5 after a series is tied at 2-2 wins the series. But then again, these are the Clippers.

L.A. has been in this situation before. They were up 3-1 in 2015 against the Rockets but allowed Houston to win the final three games of the series. Last season, the Clippers also had a 3-1 lead over the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the playoffs. They collapsed once again and lost in Game 7. But the situation this season is different.

Kawhi Out While Mitchell and Conley Questionable for Game 6

The Clippers’ championship aspirations took a massive blow when Kawhi Leonard suffered an ankle injury that forced him to miss Game 5. With that injury upgraded to an ACL sprain, Leonard is expected to miss at least the rest of the series. Big man Serge Ibaka is also out of the season after undergoing back surgery.

But Utah also has its injury woes as like Ibaka, PG Mike Conley hasn’t been able to play a single game in the series. Aside from Conley, Utah’s main man Donovan Mitchell is playing with an ankle injury which limited him in Games 4 and 5, both of which the Jazz lost. Mitchell has to play through pain again in Game 6. If not he and the Jazz are going fishing next week.

Paul George proved in Game 5 that the Indiana Pacers version of PG13 is still here if the situation calls for it. He just has to bring it again on Friday. But more crucial than George will be the performance of Reggie Jackson, Marcus Morris Sr., and Nicolas Batum who stepped up big in Game 5. If they can provide the same support they gave Paul George in Game 5, the Clippers are good.

Updated Odds to Win NBA Title

The Clippers have failed their bettors for decades. But with Paul George currently playing the best basketball of his NBA career, this may be L.A.’s best chance of finally making it to the Conference Finals. However, winning the NBA title may be a different story with the likes of Brooklyn, Milwaukee, Phoenix, and even Utah still ranked ahead of them in the oddboards.

Injuries though could change the title picture. The Suns are the first team through to the Conference Finals. But they have lost Chris Paul to COVID-19 for the first part of the series. In the East, The Bucks have taken the Brooklyn Nets to a win-or-go-home Game 7. The other Eastern Conference bracket has 5th seeded Atlanta leading no.1 Philadelphia 3-2.

You can say what you want about the betting odds. But right now, there is no clear favorite to win the 2021 NBA championship. There’s a chance that Milwaukee and Atlanta advance to the East Finals. If the Clippers oust the Jazz, they will meet a short-handed Suns team in the Conference Finals. Sure the Clippers may have lost Kawhi for the season, but the injuries all over the league is canceling out the other teams’ advantages.

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Shane Acedera / Author

Shane grew up watching the Magic & Bird rivalry but ended up rooting for Detroit's Bad Boys team in the 1990s NBA. He loves to tell sports stories and has been writing about sports since high school. When Shane isn't busy jotting down his thoughts, he's just chillin' at home with his wife Rocelle and their two dogs named Horry and Fisher. He recently added a new family member, adopting a handsome retired K-9 named Ranger.

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