The stage is set for the NBA’s final second round matchup to tip-off for Game 1 as the L.A. Clippers visit the No. 1 seeded Utah Jazz Tuesday night. Read on for our full Clippers vs. Jazz game preview.
Clippers vs. Jazz Game Information
Where: Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah
When: 7 p.m. PST
How to Watch: TNT, AM 570 L.A. Sports/The Patriot AM 1150
Projected Starting Lineups:
L.A. Clippers: Reggie Jackson – Paul George – Kawhi Leonard – Marcus Morris Sr. – Nicolas Batum
Utah Jazz: Donovan Mitchell – Joe Ingles – Bojan Bogdanović – Royce O’Neale – Rudy Gobert
L.A. Clippers: Serge Ibaka – DOUBTFUL (Back Spasms)
Utah Jazz: Mike Conley – OUT (Right Hamstring Strain)
The Big Picture
Two days removed from an emotional, franchise-defining Game 7 victory, the Clippers will be thrown right back into the fire against the NBA’s best team during the regular season. While LAC has shown incredible heart just to get to this point—recovering from down 0-2 and 3-2—avoiding an early hole and stealing one of the first two games of this series would do wonders for their odds to get by the Utah Jazz and elevate the franchise to its first-ever Western Conference Finals appearance.
A Clipper win tonight would simultaneously extend LAC’s playoffs road winning streak to four and snap their six-game losing streak at Vivint Arena. Heading into tonight’s game, the main storyline is the polar opposite levels of rest between the two squads. While the Jazz have been on hiatus since June 2, Kawhi Leonard is coming in having played 42 minutes in each of his last two superhero-esque games. Paul George logged 46 and 43. As such, it feels like this game is set up to unfold in one of two cookie cutter ways in the NBA world: (1) the Clippers’ short turnaround causes them to chalk this one up early or burn out down the stretch, or (2) the Jazz’s lack of rhythm or recent adversity causes them to sleepwalk into a sense of urgency-questioning stinger.
With the innocence, excitement and hope of a new playoff series comes, of course, having to figure out a different opponent and the personnel and schemes that come with it. The sole team to post a Top 5 net rating in both offense (116.5) and defense (107.5) en route to their league-best regular season record of 52-20, the Utah Jazz have looked nothing short of dominant while also being blessed enough to avoid the injury bug… until recently it appears. Although Donovan Mitchell has returned to form following his absence in the Jazz’s lone first round loss to the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 1, noted Clipper killer Mike Conley was not able to finish Utah’s final game in the series due to a hamstring issue. Conley’s absense for tonight’s game adds some extra pressure on the Clippers to capitalize and steal home court advantage. Aside from their dynamic playmaking backcourt, the Jazz’s cohesiveness as a balanced unit will give the Clippers a much different feel from the jump. The consistent interior presence of Rudy Gobert. The proven shot creation of Bojan Bogdanović and freshly minted 6MOY Jordan Clarkson. The steadiness of veteran reserves Joe Ingles and Derrick Favors.
Clippers vs. Jazz Game Notes
- Second Round Shots: After emphasizing that “every series is different” and that the Clippers’ coaching staff will have to see how things “flow” to decide their rotations moving forward, it’s clear that head coach Tyronn Lue will once again have no fear in making rotational adjustments with each game. For Ivica Zubac, Patrick Beverley and Rajon Rondo, who each saw their minutes shortened or even cut entirely against Dallas, tonight’s game could be the start of them being called upon a whole lot more to do what they do best.
- Play that Mann: It would be great to see Terance Mann continue to be one of Lue’s prominent bench guys. With his athleticism, energy and versatility on both ends, Mann has consistently brought things to the table that the Clippers sorely need and has really proven himself when given time.
- Stifling the Tower: Aside from evaluating the early returns on the matchups among the perimeter guys, a pivotal development in the series will be figuring out how much the Clippers can afford to go small against Rudy Gobert, particularly in how well they can defend and rebound against him.
- Mafuzzy Chef in the Voodoo Room?: With Lue mentioning that Serge Ibaka stayed in L.A. to focus on rehabbing his back, perhaps the return of the big man’s voodoo room buff will be the difference for Clipper Nation tonight.
Feel free to stick around and chat down below as this article’s comment section will serve as our live game thread tonight for Game 1 against the Utah Jazz. Sign up for a free account and join the conversation!
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