Who would have thought that in round two, only the Los Angeles Clippers would be having games at Staples Center? The Lakers’ early exit, combined with a 3-2 opening round comeback by the Clips has us in the exact situation. Unfortunately for them, Utah commanded the final stretch of each of the first two games to go up 2-0 to this point in their head-to-head.
The Utah Jazz have been playing very good basketball and will be looking to keep things rolling. We all knew how good Donovan Mitchell was, but now he’s gone out of his way to prove he is a superstar in the league. The high-scoring performances and the splitting double teams with ease make him look just so dangerous. There is almost nothing he is not capable of doing for his club.
L.A. has gone through some big rotational changes throughout the playoffs. Ivica Zubac returned to the starting lineup in game two. Luke Kennard’s minutes dipped. Rajon Rondo did not play, nor did Terance Mann, the hero of round one. Patrick Beverley and DeMarcus Cousins are both getting some big burn for L.A., one of them clearly outplaying the other.
A team is only as good as the sum of its parts. Can the “other” Clippers players come through, or is this series already done?
The spread is currently set at LAC -4.5. The over/under is 223 points.
Utah Seeking 3-0 Lead
The Phoenix Suns are currently up 3-0 on the Denver Nuggets. And so, a Utah win here could officially lean fans toward a wild Western Conference Finals. Everybody wants to see the top two teams going at it and may well get their wish very soon. Utah’s ability to knock down high volumes of threes throughout every game makes them very tough to beat.
The Clippers were the best shooting team by percentage during the year, but Utah led in makes. They have so many players that are quality three-point shooters, and the ball movement is always there to set them up. It is hard to find a true, genuine weakness.
They exploit other defenses and make sure to get all the mismatches possible. If Mitchell can stay hot, and Jordan Clarkson and Rudy Gobert do their thing, 3-0 is theirs.
Clippers On the Brink
A 3-0 comeback has never happened in the NBA. There have been plenty of 3-1 rallies throughout the last several years, though. If you’re L.A., you are playing for your season in Saturday’s ballgame.
As good as Kawhi Leonard has been, the team has been unable to scrape by. They trailed 0-2 in round one and do once again, too. They are just 1-3 at home in these playoffs, so it’s hard to say if they will enjoy having come to court or not. Paul George has to go start making at least some of his shots, as the accuracy has not been there for him.
Clippers coach Ty Lue needs set rotations and for players to know their roles. A big day for the Clips bench would be significant.
Jazz Win, Go Up 3-0
The Clippers are desperate and will go hard. But still, it won’t be enough. Jazz win.
FREE PLAY: UTAH +4.5
OVER/UNDER: OVER 223
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