Los Angeles Clippers vs Utah Jazz: Lineups, preview & prediction 4/5/18
The Clippers need to pick up a big road win against the in-form Jazz to keep their playoff hopes alive.
The Los Angeles Clippers (42-36) kept their faint playoff hopes alive as they came from behind to defeat the San Antonio Spurs, 113-110. Tobias Harris had a terrific outing with 31 points and nine rebounds. Austin Rivers added 18 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer which put the Clips ahead. Meanwhile, Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell combined for 38 points to spark LA off the bench.
The Clippers must now go up against the Utah Jazz (45-33), who won their third game in a row with a 117-110 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. Ricky Rubio had his second impressive outing in a row as he went for 31 points with eight assists and six rebounds. Backcourt mate Donovan Mitchell added 26 points and six rebounds, while Rudy Gobert filled the stat sheet with 12 points, 16 boards, five assists, two steals, and three blocks.
Three keys to the game
Jazz offense – The Jazz have rediscovered their offensive potency in the last couple of games since Rubio returned from a one-game absence. They’ve scored 121 and 117 points in those two games, which is about the same type of level their offense has reached when they’ve faced the Clippers. They’ve topped 125 points in each of their last two matchups against LA and should feel confident of the chances to do so again at home.
Tobias Harris – Harris, who was not part of the Clippers in their first three games against the Jazz, is a new factor into the equation. The versatile forward has been superb for over a month now and represents one of the few advantages the Clippers can capitalize upon against the Jazz. He struggled in his lone meeting against Utah this season (13 points, 6-17 FG), but LA really need him to play much better if they stand any chance of picking up the road win.
Bench spark – Aside from Harris, LA’s bench duo of Harrell and Williams needs to continue their solid play of late to keep the Clippers within striking distance of the Jazz. Harrell, in particular, has been very impressive of late, topping at least 16 points in four of his last seven games.
Matchup to watch
DeAndre Jordan vs Rudy Gobert – The matchup of the two talented big men will take center stage in this game. The two will obviously be battling all night long on the boards, which will be a fascinating affair. Their defense will also be crucial for their respective teams, especially in terms of covering pick-and-rolls involving the likes of Lou Williams, Ricky Rubio, Austin Rivers, and Donovan Mitchell.
Clippers projected starting lineup
PG – Austin Rivers | SG – Tyrone Williams| SF – CJ Williams | PF – Tobias Harris| C – DeAndre Jordan
Jazz projected starting lineup
PG – Ricky Rubio | SG – Donovan Mitchell | SF – Joe Ingles | PF – Derrick Favors | C – Rudy Gobert
There doesn’t seem to be a particular Clipper who stands out from a fantasy perspective. While Harris has been playing some great basketball lately, the Jazz have been solid in terms of keeping opposing forwards quiet. Although, Austin Rivers could be an intriguing selection. He’s averaged 20.5 points on 55 percent shooting with four assists in two meetings against the Jazz this season. Moreover, he’s on a bit of a roll, scoring 18 points with five or more assists and a steal or two in three of his last four games.
As for the Jazz, their backcourt duo of Rubio and Mitchell has been playing at a high level recently. Mitchell’s streak of consecutive games with at least 21 points has now hit ten games. He should fancy his chances of making it 11 against a Clippers team that’s had incredibly shaky defense against opposing shooting guards. In the same vein, Joe Ingles could also have another great game against the Clips. The Aussie has been in terrific form of late, averaging 13.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 7.2 assists over his last ten games.
The Clippers are obviously in desperation mode at this point with their margin for error virtually nil with just four games remaining. That extra bit of motivation could help this game be a bit more competitive even though the Jazz are clearly the better team. Lean toward the Clippers covering the seven-point spread on the road.
The Jazz overcome their Clippers’ best shot as they get the 107-102 home win.
This game will be broadcast on AT&T SportsNet – Rocky Mountain and Fox Sports Prime Ticket. Tip-off is at 9:00 pm Eastern.