The Los Angeles Clippers were unable to slow down Donovan ‘Spida’ Mitchell from the Utah Jazz who torched their perplexed defense for 45 points in Game 1, then dropped 37 points in Game 2. The Jazz hold a 2-0 series lead after winning the first two games on their home court in Salt Lake City, but both teams head to LA this weekend for a pair of games at the Staples Center including a must-win Game 3 for the Clippers.
The top-ranked Jazz opened a 2-0 lead against the Clippers despite missing starting point guard Mike Conley. The Jazz did not skip a beat without their floor general, who missed the first two games with a hamstring injury.
Conley had a full week of rest and treatments, but he’s still listed as questionable for Game 3. There’s no rush to return with Spida Mitchell averaging 41 points per game.
|GAME 3: #1 UTAH JAZZ (2-0) vs #4 LA CLIPPERS|
- Tip-off: 5:30pm PT
- Location: Staples Center, LA
- Point Spread: LAC -4/5
- Total: 223 o/u
- Money Line: UTAH +165 / LAC -185
- Series Line: UTAH -480 / LAC +350
The Clippers had a bad start against the Dallas Mavericks in the opening round of the playoffs. The Mavs won two games on the road in LA to take a 2-0 lead, but the Clippers won the next two games to even the series. The Clippers rallied back to defeat the Mavs and win the series after falling behind 3-2. Can they pull off the same magic against the Jazz?
Game 3: Betting the Clippers and Jazz
The Clippers are a -4.5 favorite in Game 3 after being road underdogs in the first two games.
The over hit in six out of the last seven playoff games for the Jazz.
After losing the first game of the first round against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Jazz rattled off six straight playoff victories.
At the start of the west semifinals, the Jazz were series favorites at -130 odds according to the Westgate Super Book. The Clippers were a slight underdog at +110 odds. After an 0-2 start, the Clippers saw their series odds drastically change to +350.
The Jazz are a much-bigger favorite to win the series at -480 odds.
The Jazz are the second-highest team on the NBA futures board behind the Brooklyn Nets. You can back the Jazz to win the 2021 NBA Championship at +250 odds.
The Clippers sunk to +1500 odds to win the NBA title, but the future looks grim with the Clippers Curse looming overhead.
Clippers: Zone D for Game 3 in LA?
The Clippers were plagued by another slow start in Game 2, and never recovered.
“You can’t dig yourself a hole like that against a good team,” said head coach Ty Lue. “Then you got to expend all your energy trying to get back in the game and you don’t have enough to finish.”
The Jazz took advantage of an off night from Kawhi Leonard in Game 2 and locked up a 2-0 series lead. Kawhi scored 21 points, but the Jazz held him to just two points in the fourth quarter to squash any comeback attempt.
Reggie Jackson led the Clippers with 29 points in the disappointing Game 2 loss. Jackson has been a godsend for the Clippers this postseason. After Ty Lue benched Patrick Beverly in the Dallas Mavs series in the first round, Jackson took over as the starting point guard. Aside from Kawhi, Jackson has been the most consistent member of the Clippers in the playoffs.
The Clippers launched a counterattack in the second half that fell short, but they might’ve stumbled upon a new defensive tactic by playing a zone defense. The unexpected wrinkle and desperate gamble threw the Jazz off, so expect Lue and the Clippers to try it again in Game 3.
We found something that we liked with the zone,” explained Jackson. “We had to switch something up. It helped us out some.”
The Jazz had a safe space with the first two games Utah, but now they play two games under the bright lights of Hollywood.
“We’ve got a lot of fight left and we’re up for the challenge,” Kawhi told the LA Times.
Smooth Jazz: Spida Bite
In Game 1, Spida bit the Clippers when Mitchell erupted for 45 points. In Game 2, the Clippers threw multiple defenses at Mitchell, but Spida still notched 37 points in a six-point Jazz win.
“For me it was, I’m going to make my imprint,” said Mitchell. “That was my mindset. Be aggressive and pick my spots.”
Mitchell became the first member of the Jazz to scored 35 points in back-to-back playoff games since Karl ‘The Mail Man’ Malone pulled off the feat back in 1988.
Mitchell came out of the gate on fire with 27 points in the first half, which set the tone as the Jazz built a nine-point lead at halftime. He scored only ten points in the second half, but that’s because his teammates were scoring, so he dished the rock.
“I don’t have to go out there and do everything,” said Mitchell. “That’s a credit to the guys we have on this team because they can go out there make plays. Everybody elevated their game.”
Jordan Clarkson scored 24 points off the bench. Joe Ingles started in place of Conley this series and the Aussie tallied 19 points in Game 2. Rudy Gobert scored 13 points but hauled down 20 rebounds, which set a new career-playoff high.
Small forward Bojan Bogdanovic, who is not known for his defensive prowess, did a stellar job defending Kawhi Leonard in the fourth quarter of Game 2.
“What Bojan did tonight should not go unnoticed,” said head coach Quin Snyder. “What he did epitomizes a warrior.”
“We make jokes all the time and say, ‘Hey Boj, we pay you to shoot!'” said Mitchell. “But he’s taking that role and accepted the challenge.”
Check out more coverage of the 2021 NBA Playoffs.