- The Clippers and Jazz face off in a crucial Game 5 on Wednesday
- LA secured two straight victories at home to even up the series at two
- Get the odds, preview, injury report, and pick below
The Utah Jazz will be looking to get back in the win column when they take on the Los Angeles Clippers in a pivotal Game 5 in Salt Lake City on Wednesday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 10pm ET.
Monday was once again the Kawhi Leonard and Paul George show. LA’s star duo rose to the occasion to tie the series at two, combining for 62 points in the victory. The Jazz received another valiant effort from superstar Donovan Mitchell, but the supporting cast wasn’t great.
Breaking news as of Wednesday morning, Kawhi Leonard is out for Game 5 due to a knee injury suffered late in Game 4. His status for the rest of the series is in doubt as well. Once news broke of Leonard’s absence, the Clippers fell from three-point underdogs to +7.5.
Clippers vs Jazz Game 5 Odds
|Team||Spread||Moneyline||Total at FanDuel|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+7.5 (-110)||+260||Ov 221 (-110)|
|Utah Jazz||-7.5 (-110)||-320||Un 221 (-110)|
Odds as of June 15th
LA is now forced to scramble with Kawhi Leonard definitely out for Game 5 – and potentially the entire series.
Leonard told teammates last night to prepare for him to be out.
He landed awkwardly on a drive in the fourth quarter and grimaced in pain Monday night. He briefly stayed in game but didn’t finish as the Clippers secured the win to even series 2-2.
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) June 16, 2021
Clippers big man Serge Ibaka remains out for the remainder of the postseason after undergoing back surgery last week.
The Jazz will once again be without veteran guard Mike Conley, who injured his hamstring in the series clincher against Memphis in round one. He’s yet to play in the Western Conference semifinals and was announced as out on Wednesday afternoon.
Clippers vs Jazz Projected Lineups
|Reggie Jackson||PG||Donovan Mitchell|
|Paul George||SG||Joe Ingles|
|Nic Batum||SF||Bojan Bogdanovic|
|Marcus Morris||PF||Royce O’Neale|
|Ivica Zubac||C||Rudy Gobert|
Jazz Can’t Afford Another Slow Start
On paper, Game 4 actually seemed like a relatively even contest. Both teams shot 40% from downtown and well over that same mark from the field. But, there was one big reason why the Jazz ended up losing by 14 points.
Utah came out sloppy. They were outscored 30-13 in the opening quarter, which ultimately ended up being the difference. While the Jazz had 11 turnovers on the night, six of them came in the first period alone. The tone was set right away and the team played catch up for the next 36 minutes.
Mitchell had another big game with 37 points, but he went just 9-for-26 from the field. The former Louisville standout did drain six 3-pointers, though. Aside from him, Bojan Bogdanovic and Joe Ingles both dropped 18 and 19, respectively. Aside from this trio, however, the rotation was rather average.
— utahjazz (@utahjazz) June 15, 2021
Rudy Gobert has really struggled lately, which has definitely hurt Utah. The Frenchman had 11 points and eight boards on Monday, which is far below his usual production. This Clippers small-ball approach seems to be working on Gobert because he’s had to try and do more defensively than just occupy the paint and simply block shots or dominate on the glass.
Nevertheless, there will be a sense of optimism for the Jazz ahead of Game 5 at home, where they’ve collected an impressive 35-6 record this season.
Clippers are Thriving
These last two games are exactly why Los Angeles has been considered a title favorite throughout the campaign. With Kawhi and PG showing out, Ty Lue’s squad is extremely difficult to stop. Both stars dropped 31 on Monday, but the real X-factor has been George finally stepping up. But with Leonard’s status in question for the remainder of the series, PG is going to have a massive load to carry.
The seven-time All-Star is thriving offensively in every way imaginable. He went 6-for-10 from deep in Game 4 but was also attacking the rim with authority on numerous occasions. If George couldn’t find a lane to the cup, he pulled up and hit a mid-range jumper. The Jazz had no answer defensively for the veteran.
On the other hand, though, LA’s defense was solid, especially in the first half. They swarmed Mitchell with several double-teams and forced Utah to take a lot of threes, which saw them shoot just 33% from downtown in the opening two quarters.
Set the tone on the defensive end. pic.twitter.com/zn4aMPDN49
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) June 15, 2021
The Clippers are firing on all cylinders right now, but heading back on the road without their best player in Kawhi is extremely unfortunate.
Although Los Angeles just outscored Utah by a total of 40 points across the last two games of this series, it will be a different story here. The Jazz haven’t lost three straight the entire year and it’s very tough to bet against them when playing at Vivint Arena.
LA has been dealt a massive blow with Kawhi out. He’s the heartbeat of this team on both ends of the floor and it’s hard to imagine them even winning another game in this series without him. Utah should cruise and comfortably cover the spread.
Pick: Utah Jazz -7.5 (-110)