LA Clippers (0-1) at Utah (1-0)
When: Thursday, June 10th, 2021
Where: Vivint Arena,
Salt Lake City, UT
Time: 10:00 ET | TV: ESPN
Opening Odds: Utah -3/221
It was a tale of two halves in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals between the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz. Game 2 is set for Thursday night in Salt Lake City with the home team looking to take a 2-0 series lead. The Jazz came out looking a little too rested after having five days off from winning their first round series against the Memphis Grizzlies, while the Clippers came in with some momentum. Donovan Mitchell scored 32 of his 45 points in the second half as Utah rallied to defeat the Clippers 112-109. L.A. did rally late in the game to push the closing line of three-points, but Rudy Gobert blocked Marcus Morris’ last-second 3-point attempt after the Jazz defense denied Kawhi Leonard and Paul George from getting a good look in the final possession. The Jazz won the game despite the absence of All-Star point guard Mike Conley, who was sidelined due to a strained right hamstring. Mitchell erupted in the third quarter to help Utah turn things around after the Clippers took a 60-47 halftime lead. Mitchell scored 16 points in the period, including the first 10 points for the Jazz. Utah jumped out to a 10-2 run to open the game, but then the Clippers settled in and went on a 22-2 run to go up 24-12. The Jazz are now 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings with L.A. including three-straight covers at home.
Paul George continues to be a no-show in the postseason for the Clippers and Game 1 was a perfect example. George scored 20 points on a horrendous 4-of-17 shooting from the field, though he did go 9 of 10 from the foul line. Kawhi Leonard led the Clippers in Game 1 with 23 points. The Clippers started Nic Batum instead of a traditional big man, but that didn’t seem to work. Defensively, the Clippers were fine, holding the Jazz to only 40.7 percent shooting from the field, but need to contain Mitchell. Luke Kennard came off the bench to score 18 points and help keep the Clippers in it.
Mitchell’s 45 points came on 16-of-30 shooting from the field, but he also got help from his supporting cast. Bojan Bogdanovic and Jordan Clarkson each scored 18 points and the team made 17 three-pointers. They have made at least 17 treys in all but one game so far in the playoffs. Joe Ingles added eight points with seven assists, while Mitchell also dished out five dimes. Gobert finished with 10 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks, including the game-saver. The Jazz are 5-0 against the spread in their last five games. The over is 8-1 in the Jazz’s last 9 playoff games as a favorite.
The Jazz have been terrific at home this season and that’s why they will win and cover in Game 2. They looked understandably rusty out of the gates in Game 1, but then settled in. Getting Conley back will certainly help, but I still believe Utah is the better team at home.
Check out who Bobby Babowski has on his Free NBA Picks page for today.
Pick: Jazz -3