The LA Clippers and Utah Jazz start their second-round playoff matchup on Tuesday night at the Vivint Home Smart Arena in Salt Lake City.
This is the last series to start because the Clippers were the final team to make it to the second round. Los Angeles fell behind 0-2 and 2-3 against Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks in round one before winning the series in Game 7. Meanwhile, the Jazz head home with plenty of rest as they took care of the upstart Memphis Grizzlies in five games, winning the final four games of the series.
The LA Clippers are the last team to make the second round after being taken to a 7th game by the Dallas Mavericks. Los Angeles trailed 3-2 but won a gritty game 6 in Dallas behind 45 points from Kawhi Leonard. Leonard led the Clippers once again in Game 7 with 28 points as they won at Staples Center for the first time in the 2021 playoffs.
Paul George shot just 5-15 from the field in Game 7 but he finished with 22 points, 6 rebounds, 10 assists, and 3 steals in an all-around effort. The Clippers also got plenty of help from Marcus Morris Sr. who made seven of nine three-pointers for 23 points in the closeout game.
Los Angeles was the NBA’s top three-point shooting team during the regular season at 41.1% and they ranked 6th in three-point makes at 14.3 per game. They went 20-43 from deep or 46.5% in Game 7.
After dropping Game 1 of their first-round series against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Utah Jazz won four straight games to enter the conference semifinals. Utah played without Donovan Mitchell in Game 1 and they have yet to lose a game with Spida in this year’s playoffs.
Mitchell averaged 28.5 points per game against the Grizzlies and he got the needed scoring support from Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson and Bojan Bogdanovic. Clarkson struggled to shoot from the field in round 1 but still scored 18.6 points per game including 24 points in Games 4 and 5. Bogdanovic meanwhile was red hot at 49.3% from the field and 46.6% from deep while scoring 18.2 points per game.
The Jazz led the league in three-point makes per game at 16.7 during the regular season. They also ranked 4th in three-point percentage at 38.9% this year. Utah averaged 20.3 three-pointers made per game in the final three games of the Memphis series.
The Clippers are 4-1 SU in their last five games played. Los Angeles is 0-5 SU in their last five games played on the road, but 4-1 SU in their last five games played against the Western Conference. The Jazz are 6-1 SU in their last seven games played. Utah is just 3-2 SU in their last five games played at home, and 3-6 SU in their last nine games played in June.
Head to head, the Jazz have won seven out of their last 10 meetings against the Clippers. Utah is also 5-0 in its last five home games against Los Angeles The Jazz are 4-0 in their last four playoff games and are unbeaten in the current postseason with Donovan Mitchell playing.
Both these teams enter this series on a roll. The Clippers won four out of their last five games against Dallas in the first round. Utah won four in a row to beat the Grizzlies in five games but the Clippers won’t be as easy to beat, not especially when Kawhi Leonard is feeling it at the moment.
Leonard averaged 32.1 points per game on 61.1% field goal shooting and 43.4% from three-point distance. If Paul George can put up solid numbers, the Clippers should get the upset in Game 1.
Prediction: LA Clippers
Los Angeles is 4-1 ATs in their last five games played. The Clippers are 4-0 ATS in their last four road games against an opponent with a winning home record, 6-1 ATS in their last seven games played on one-day rest, 5-2 ATS in their last seven road games, and 4-1 ATS in their last five games against an opponent with a winning straight up record.
Utah is 4-0 ATS in their last four games played. The Jazz are 4-0 ATS in their last four playoff games as betting favorites, 5-0 ATS in their last five games after scoring more than 100 points in their previous game, 4-1 ATS in their last five games after an ATS win, and 5-2 ATS in their last seven games as home favorites.
Head to head, the Jazz are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games played against the Clippers. Utah is also 20-8-1 ATS in their last 29 home games against the LA Clippers.
The Clippers barely got past the Mavericks as they were taken to the full seven-game route. However, the Clippers won four out of the last five games of that series and three of their wins came by double digits. Dallas meanwhile outgunned an inexperienced Memphis team but will find the Clippers hard to handle with their defense and slow-paced game.
I think that the Clippers are just starting to scratch the surface of how good they can be. I’ll take the underdogs and the plus points in a game that could be decided by one basket.
Prediction: Clippers +4
The under is 16-6-1 in the LA Clippers’ last 23 games played. Los Angeles has seen the total go under in five out of their last six games as underdogs. The under is 6-0-2 in the Clippers’ last eight games in the Conference semifinals, 19-5-3 in their last 27 games against an opponent with a winning percentage of higher than .600, and 7-2-1 in their last 10 games after a straight up win.
The total has gone over in each of the last five games played by the Jazz. The over is 4-0 in their last four games after an ATS win, 6-0 in their last six games as betting favorites, 5-1 in their last six home games against an opponent with a winning road record, and 6-1 in their last seven home games played.
Head to head the total has gone under in four out of the last six meetings between these two teams.
These two teams have combined to score an average of 212.2 points per game in their last 10 head to head meetings and 214.67 points per game in their last three encounters. These teams went under 220 in two out of their three regular season meetings.
Utah scored 120+ points in each of their last four games against the Grizzlies but the Clippers ranked 6th in scoring defense during the regular season.
The Clippers won four out of their last five games against the Mavericks in the first round by holding Dallas to an average of 100.4 points per game during that span, with the Mavs scoring 108 or fewer in four of those games.
The Jazz can put up points on the scoreboard but the Clippers have the slowest pace in the playoffs at 92.86. Give me the under.
Prediction: Under 220
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