A couple of interesting notes are worth mentioning for this clash of Western Conference contenders. The Los Angeles Clippers handily beat the LA Lakers in the opener, who then defeated the Utah Jazz days later in similar fashion.

The Clippers were then upset by the usually bottoming Phoenix Suns, who then lost to the Jazz despite the Jazz turning the ball over 23 times and shooting just 38%.

Yep. It’s pretty crazy.

Don’t get it wrong. The Clippers are still very dangerous.

The Clippers have forgotten that slip up in Phoenix and they will be entering this next contest with a lot of confidence. They were able to build some rhythm back in Tuesday’s 111-96 victory over the Charlotte Hornets, so expect Doc Rivers’ crew to be back in full form.

Three Clippers are currently averaging 20 or more points per game – Leonard (27), Lou Williams (22.3), and Montrezl Harrell (20.5) – and they lead the team in ranking third in points and first offensive rating. For a group that’s blessed with defensive talent, it’s great to see them showcase a top-level type of offense this early in the season.

The Jazz and their fine, fine defense

The Jazz have a well-established identity, and highlighting that persona is a calm, slow-paced attack that chips away through efficient defense. Such work is being shown once again this season as they have yet to allow an opponent to score more than 95 points and shoot better than 41.3%.

Utah is currently number one in points allowed and defensive rating – the team has also ranked inside the top four in both categories in each of the last three seasons. They were behind most of the game against the Suns, but their late game defense and poise were what helped them come back late in the fourth quarter.

Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell

Gobert and Mitchell are the team’s flag bearers on defense and offense, respectively, with the former being a two-time Defensive Player of the Year and latter being one of the fastest-rising young stars of today. The two will have an excellent opportunity to further prove their abilities against the Clippers’ balanced attack on both ends.

Mike Conley may have left his talents in Memphis

The Jazz’s key reinforcement from the off-season is off to a bad start. In four games, Conley is just contributing 7.8 points and 4.3 assists per game while shooting a woeful 20% from the field.

What’s saving the Jazz from his struggles is the big scoring of other newcomer, Bogdan Bogdanovic, who’s putting up 23.7 PPG and has dropped 26 and 29 points in his last two.


The numbers on defense aren’t there, but from top to bottom, there’s no doubt that this Clippers’ roster can enter a defensive slugfest with the Jazz and be as imposing as they can be on offense.

Expect to see a relatively low-scoring affair, with the Clipps’ getting the upper hand in the end.