Spiders have eight legs, but Donovan “Spida” Mitchell only has two. Mitchell suffered an ankle injury in Game 3 when the Utah Jazz lost to the LA Clippers in Los Angeles over the weekend. Despite the injury, Mitchell said he will play for Game 4 on Monday night in Tinsel Town where the Clippers will seek to even the series at 2-2.
The Clippers started in an 0-2 hole before finally logging a win in Game 3. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are on a mission to finally break the dreaded Clippers Curse. There’s an added glimmer of hope knowing that Mitchell, the Jazz’s leading scorer and playmaker will be hampered by an ankle injury.
|Game 4: #1 Utah Jazz (2-1) vs. #4 LA Clippers (1-2)|
- Tip-off: 7 pm PT
- Location: Staples Center, LA
- Point Spread: LAC -5
- Total: 223.5 o/u
- Money Line: UTAH +180 / LAC -200
- Series Line: LAC +155 / UTAH -195
Coming into Game 4, the Jazz are +5 underdogs with a banged-up Mitchell.
The Clippers saw their series odds improve slightly to +155, but they’re still an underdog with most of the betting public fading them and backing the Clippers Curse. After Mitchell went down in Game 3, the Jazz took a hit and slipped to -195 odds to win the series. Against the Grizzlies, Mitchell averaged 28.5 ppg in four games of action.
Mitchell sprained his ankle in April and missed several weeks at the end of the season. He was sidelined for 16 games, but the Jazz had essentially locked up the #1 seed and wanted to rest him for the postseason.
The Jazz surprised everyone, including Mitchell, when he was a late scratch before Game 1. A miffed Mitchell wanted to play, but the Jazz were being conservative. The Jazz lost the opener against Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies. Mitchell returned to action in Game 2 and the Jazz rattled off four straight wins to knock out the Grizzlies in five games.
Mitchell tweaked his ankle at the end of Game 2 when things got a little chippy and extra physical in a 117-11 victory. In Game 3, Mitchell aggravated the injury and exited early. At the time, he’d notched 30 points and looked like he could drop another 40-point game against the Clippers.
“It’s when I land,” explained Mitchell. “It’s been just trying to manage it. I don’t really know what else to tell you. I don’t want to say too much. It was just the landing.
The Clippers coasted to a 26-point blowout over the short-handed Jazz without Mitchell and starting point guard Mike Conley. Mitchell said he would’ve returned to the game in the fourth quarter if the Jazz had a chance to win, but they were down 16 points at the time. The coaching staff made the tough, but wise decision to sit him in the inevitable blowout.
“I’ll be ready for Game 4,” said Mitchell.
In three games against the Clippers, Mitchell averages 37.3 ppg while shooting 48.5% from downtown.
Conley: Questionable for Game 4
The Jazz lost Conley to a hamstring injury in the first round during Game 5’s close-out victory against the Grizzlies. He suffered tightness and missed the first three games of the Clippers series. He’s listed as questionable for Game 4.
“He’s not quite there yet,” said Jazz head coach Quin Snyder.
Sharp-shooting Joe Ingles started in Conley’s place in the first three games. He averages 15.3 ppg against the Clippers while shooting 44% from 3-point range. Ingles scored 19 points in the last two games.
Without Conley, the Jazz were able to handle the Clippers. With Mitchell slowed down due to the ankle injury, the Jazz could really use their floor general. Expect Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson to take on some of the scoring burden. Clarkson averages 18.6 ppg in the postseason and is shooting a sizzling 51.3% from 3-point range, but he had a quiet Game 3 with just 14 points in the blowout loss.
Check out more of OG’s coverage of the 2021 NBA Playoffs.