Where: Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, CA
When: 7:30 PM PT
How to Watch: Clippervison, Bally Sports SoCal, NBA TV
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers: Reggie Jackson – Paul George – Kawhi Leonard – Marcus Morris – Ivica Zubac
Jazz: Collin Sexton – Jordan Clarkson – Kelly Olynyk – Lauri Markkanen – Jarred Vanderbilt
Clippers: Paul George questionable (right knee), Luke Kennard out (right calf strain), Brandon Boston (G League Assignment), Moussa Diabate (G League Assignment), Jason Preston (G League Assignment).
Jazz: Mike Conley out (left leg), Rudy Gay out (left hand), Ochai Agbaji (G League Assignment), Leandro Bolmaro (G League Assignment), Johnny Juzang (G League Assignment), Micah Potter (G League Assignment).
The Big Picture
The Clippers are coming off what was arguably their best win of the season. They never trailed on Saturday against the San Antonio Spurs and they led by double-digits for the majority of the game. Reggie Jackson and Norman Powell, two players who started the season off slowly, have begun to look much better and much more comfortable on the court.
Kawhi Leonard is back and in the starting lineup and while he may not be putting up big numbers, his mere presence and ability to draw two defenders is crucial for the Clippers.
As inconsistent as the Clippers have been on the offensive end of the court, they still have a top-two defense in the league right now. Their defense has been what’s kept them in some of these games when the offense has sputtered. They are first in the league in opponents points per game (105.4) and second in defensive rating (107.3). They held their last two opponents to under 100 points.
However, they are dead last in the NBA in points per game (105.2) and offensive rating (107.2). The offense looked the best it has all season though against the Spurs, with the Clippers knocking down a season-high 21 three-pointers. Head coach Tyronn Lue called the game the blueprint for what the team should look like on a consistent basis. The Clippers have managed to win back to back games and have won five of their last seven games. All of those wins except one, however, came against sub-.500 teams, with the exception being the Cleveland Cavaliers which also could have been the Clippers’ best game of the season.
The Clippers will have their work cut out for them though on Monday, as the Jazz come in to Crypto.com Arena with the best record in the Western Conference.
The Utah Jazz were supposed to be firmly in the running for the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes, but the team apparently had other plans. While the Clippers were beating up on the Spurs on Saturday, the Jazz were beating the Portland Trail Blazers and earning themselves the top record in the Western Conference – for now.
Lauri Markkanen is blossoming into a legit star, and the last time these two teams met, which resulted in a Clippers loss, he had 18 points, nine rebounds, three assists, a block, and a steal.
Mike Conley Jr. was someone who hurt the Clippers the last time around and his veteran presence has been instrumental to the Jazz. When they traded Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, Conley was thought to be the next domino to fall. Instead, the Jazz opted to keep him around and it was one of the best decisions they made. Unfortunately for the Jazz, Conley is out due to a leg injury he sustained against Portland.
That’s a stroke of luck for the Clippers, but they’ll still have to contend with noted Clippers killer Jordan Clarkson, who had 23 points and shot 6-9 from three in their last meeting.
The Jazz are one of the top scoring teams in the NBA and they put up 110 points on the Clippers home floor the last time around. They are an average defensive team though and the Clippers did get 102 points in that game. The key to this game will be limiting the Jazz offense while being able to generate the same type of scoring opportunities the Clippers were able to get in their last game.
Paul George is officially listed as questionable for the Jazz game. He left the Spurs game early with right knee soreness and did not return. However, after the game he met up with Clippers owner Steve Ballmer and exclaimed that he was okay, and nobody on the team seemed to indicated that it was anything serious. The expectation was that he would play against the Jazz, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Clippers playing it safe and holding him out for precautionary reasons.