The Clippers and Jazz put on one of the most entertaining games of the playoffs so far in their Game 1 clash. Both had big leads, but the game was decided on the final possession, where Rudy Gobert got a block to stop the Clippers from tying the game.
Catch this game live on Friday, June 11, at 10:00 AM Manila time.
HOME TEAM: Utah Jazz (1-0, 1-0 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Donovan Mitchell (Mike Conley questionable)
- SG: Joe Ingles
- SF: Bojan Bogdanovic
- PF: Royce O’Neale
- C: Rudy Gobert
It’s hard to praise Donovan Mitchell enough for the performance that he had in Game 1. The Spida finished the game with 45 points, 3 rebounds and 5 assists on 16 of 30 shooting (6 of 15 from three) and had himself a personal 10-2 run against the Clippers that turned the tide of the game. Mitchell is looking healthy, strong, and certainly channelled Dwyane Wade’s energy in the game. It was interesting to see the two of them talking multiple times during the game, and Wade may have given him some good advice.
Bogdan Bogdanovic and Jeremy Clarkson both chipped in 18 points, but didn’t shoot particularly well, combining to shoot 12 of 32 from the field. They did combined to shoot 9 of 20 from three, though, and the Jazz are always much deadlier when they’re sinking the long bombs.
Rudy Gobert’s initial stat line of 10 points, 12 rebounds and 2 blocks may not sound that impressive, but his inside presence helped alter a few shots and one of those blocks came in the crucial final seconds of Game 1.
The Jazz took care of the ball well, too, with only 7 turnovers for the whole game. They’re brimming with confidence, and there was an important moment in the second half where you could hear Mitchell tell his teammates that they just needed to push a bit harder and they’d make the Clippers break and start thinking of Game 2. In all fairness, the Clippers did fight back in the end but it’s always a good sign to see a vocal leader motivate his teammates the right way.
Mike Conley is listed as questionable for Game 2 and they may decide to give him more rest. It’d be a boost to get him back but the Jazz showed that they’re capable of winning while letting him recover.
Utah are 35-21 ATS after a win and 25-13 as the home favorite.
ROAD TEAM: LA Clippers (0-1, 0-1 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Reggie Jackson
- SG: Paul George
- SF: Kawhi Leonard
- PF: Marcus Morris Sr.
- C: Ivica Zubac
Kawhi Leonard tried his best to keep the Clippers in the game, but his 23 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists on 9 of 19 shooting simply weren’t enough. He only hit 1 of 4 three pointers too, which made the game more difficult. He actually finished the game with the worst plus/minus of the Clippers with -12.
Paul George finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 2 assists but struggled mightily from the field again. He shot 4 of 17 from the field and 3 of 8 from three, and was 9 of 10 from the free throw line. He missed a lot of open shots too, and just never got in a rhythm. He was 2 of 14 at one point before hitting a couple of buckets late in the game, but he’s got to be more consistent. He’s certainly not showing worthy of his $176 million extension – and this Jazz team has a lot more weapons than the Mavericks.
Marcus Morris Sr., who shot 7 of 9 in Game 7 against the Mavericks, swung to the other side of the streaky shooter pendulum and went 1 of 9 from beyond the arc as he finished with 9 points. Reggie Jackson had the same point total, but he was saddled with foul trouble all game and fouled out in the fourth, taking away one of the Clippers’ most reliable shooters.
Ivica Zubac didn’t start the game, but had 11 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks in 20 minutes of game time. The Clippers will probably want to take a good look at starting him in the next game to counter Rudy Gobert’s size.
The Clippers have the ability to beat the Jazz, but the question is whether or not they can hold onto a double-digit lead. The Jazz are a confident team with a great closer in Donovan Mitchell, so you don’t want to be trying to rely on coming from behind to beat them in the fourth quarter.
The Clippers are 16-12 ATS after a loss and 3-4 ATS as an away underdog.
Spread: It should be another hotly-contested game, and I think the Jazz cover -3 with a victory at home.
Over/Under: The Jazz and Clippers will continue to go blow for blow, but it might get even chippier and tight in Game 2. I like the under 221.5.