Important update: Kawhi Leonard has been confirmed to be out of Game 5 and potentially the series with a knee injury.
The LA Clippers have come back from the dead — again. Just like the first round, Kawhi Leonard and crew have erased a two-game series deficit to make it 2-2 against the Utah Jazz. Will the Clippers keep on rolling? Or, will Utah remain unbeaten in Salt Lake City in this series?
Catch this game live on Thursday, June 17, at 10 AM, Manila time
HOME TEAM: Utah Jazz (2-2, 2-0 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Donovan Mitchell
- SG: Joe Ingles
- SF: Bojan Bogdanovic
- PF: Roye O’Neale
- C: Rudy Gobert
Utah is going to need a much better start in Game 5. When they lost to the Clippers in Game 4, 118-104, the Jazz were immediately buried under a huge lead, as they got outscored by LA in the first quarter, 30-13.
The Jazz got into their rhythm eventually, but they weren’t able to make enough stops on the defensive end to catch up. Utah continue to shoot the lights out from deep, though. The Jazz went 17 of 42 from long distance in Game 4. They have drilled an average of 18.7 threes on 44.8 3FG% over their last three games.
In the playoffs as a whole, the Jazz are shooting 41.1 3FG%. A key for the Jazz this Thursday will be the play of Jordan Clarkson. The current Sixth Man of the Year scored just eight points off the bench in Game 4, while shooting just 3 of 12 from the floor.
Utah needs him to break out of that shooting slump, especially if Mike Conley Jr. misses another game due to a right hamstring injury. The Jazz are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games as a home favorite.
ROAD TEAM: Los Angeles Clippers (2-2, 0-2 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Reggie Jackson
- SG: Paul George
- SF: Kawhi Leonard
- PF: Nic Batum
- C: Marcus Morris Sr.
Those Pandemic P jokes have to take a backseat for now, as Paul George has turned it on of late. George has scored a total of 62 points with 10 3-pointers on 47.7 FG% and 50 3FG% over the last two games, which the Clippers both won.
Together with Kawhi Leonard, George is playing the role expected of him in trying to right the Clippers’ ship. Speaking of Leonard, The Klaw is as consistently great as they come. So far in the second round, Leonard is averaging 27.3 points in 50.5 FG%, though he needs to improve his outside shooting a bit, as he’s only connecting on 33.3% of his 3-point attempts in the series.
Nevertheless, a Clippers team with both of their superstars humming smoothly spells trouble for the Jazz, who have lost all the momentum they built following a great 2-0 start. LA is also feeding off the resurgence of Reggie Jackson, who’s becoming some sort of Mr. June for the Clippers.
Jackson has turned into a nice third wheel in support of Leonard and George, as he’s putting up 15.2 points while shooting 44.2 3FG% against the Jazz. The Clippers are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games after taking just a full day of rest.
Spread: Back at home, I’m expecting the Jazz to have a much better start this time around with a smoother execution in the clutch. Take the Jazz to win and cover (-2.5)
UPDATE: with Kawhi Leonard now being confirmed out of the game, the Clippers have a hard fight ahead of them, and the Jazz should cover the new line of -7.
Over/Under: Game 6 should be a tighter affair, given the high importance of the contest. Both the Clippers and the Jazz will play at a more deliberate pace. Take the Under 223.