Both the Utah Jazz and LA Clippers blew 3-1 leads against the Nuggets this year and are looking for redemption. Game 1 should be an interesting battle.
Catch this game live on Wednesday, June 9, at 10:00 AM Manila time.
HOME TEAM: Utah Jazz (0-0, 0-0 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Mike Conley (day-to-day)
- SG: Donovan Mitchell
- SF: Bojan Bogdanovic
- PF: Royce O’Neale
- C: Rudy Gobert
After taking a surprise loss in Game 1 to the Memphis Grizzlies, the Jazz got Donovan Mitchell back and then rolled off four straight wins to book their place in the conference semifinals.
The Spida averaged 28.5 PPG, 3.0 RPG and 5.8 APG in the series and reminded everyone about how dangerous of an offensive weapon he is. While Ja Morant had plenty of brilliant moments for Memphis, they simply couldn’t outdo Mitchell’s production.
Rudy Gobert continued to prove that he was worth his contract extension too, providing immense value to the team with 17.4 PPG, 13.0 RPG and a whopping 3.2 BPG. He is the kind of defensive anchor that every team hopes to have.
The Jazz actually had four other players average double figures in the series, including Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson (18.6 PPG), Bojan Bogdanovic (18.4 PPG), Mike Conley (17.4 PPG) and Royce O’Neale (11.0 PPG).
Conley is listed as day-to-day due to a hamstring injury, which will be a worry for the Jazz. As we’ve seen with the Brooklyn Nets, someone can look great in a series and then suddenly aggravate a hamstring injury like James Harden. He’s an immense contributor to the Jazz and they will need him against an elite team like the Clippers.
The Jazz won the regular season series 2-1, but one of those games didn’t feature Kawhi Leonard or Paul George. The two contests that had both Clippers stars in the lineup were split, and were decided by a grand total of 10 points.
Utah are 24-13 ATS as the home favorite this season, but are 1-2 ATS when playing with 4+ days off.
ROAD TEAM: LA Clippers (0-0, 0-0 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Reggie Jackson
- SG: Paul George
- SF: Kawhi Leonard
- PF: Marcus Morris Sr.
- C: Ivica Zubac
The LA Clippers showed their grit after coming back from a 2-3 series deficit against the Dallas Mavericks. They withstood a legendary performance from Luka Doncic thanks to Kawhi Leonard.
The Klaw is out there reminding people that he was a Finals MVP just two years ago, as he averaged 32.1 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 4.6 APG, 2.3 APG and 1.0 BPG. His most memorable performance was his 45-point Game 6 showcase, where he simply refused to go home and willed his team to a win.
Co-star Paul George struggled with his shot at times against Dallas, but still averaged 23.6 PPG, 9.0 RPG and 5.7 SPG, so he’s finding ways to get involved even when the shot isn’t falling. Against an elite defense like the Jazz, though, George is going to have to pick up his offensive game and be more efficient – especially from deep where he’s only shooting 30.6% in the playoffs.
Reggie Jackson’s made the most of his chances to start, and was the Clippers’ third-leading scorer with 15.4 PPG while shooting 39.3% from beyond the arc. The spacing and spot scoring he provides is going to be another key for the Clippers to win Game 1 and the series.
While Serge Ibaka continues to be sidelined, the Clippers will continue to try to rely on their other role players like Nicolas Batum, Marcus Morris Sr. and Ivica Zubac. Zubac, in particular, may be called on more to attempt to counter Rudy Gobert’s rebounding and inside scoring.
LA are 3-3 ATS as a road underdog and 26-23-1 ATS after a win.
Spread: The Jazz faltered the last time they had a long rest, but they didn’t have Donovan Mitchell back yet. I like the Jazz to cover -3.5 in this game.
Over/Under: The Clippers and Jazz both have elite defenses, and I think the Game 1 chess match will hit under 220.