- The Utah Jazz try to extend to a 2-0 series lead when they take on the LA Clippers Thursday
- Donovan Mitchell ripped the Clips for 45 points in the Game 1 win
- Get the odds, preview, and pick below
The LA Clippers had to withstand a barrage of Luka Doncic just to get to the next round. If their 112-109 loss to the Utah Jazz in Game 1 Monday night is any indication, they’re going to have their hands full with Donovan Mitchell as well.
With Mike Conley Jr on the shelf, Mitchell’s 45-point bomb helped the Jazz strike first in Round 2, and Utah showed their top-flight defense to seal the game in the dying seconds.
Oddsmakers think this could be replicable, as they’ve listed the Utah — the NBA leader in regular-season wins — as 3-point favorites at home in Game 2.
Clippers vs Jazz Game 2 Odds
|Team||Spread at FanDuel||Moneyline||Total|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+3 (-108)||+128||Ov 221 (-108)|
|Utah Jazz||-3 (-112)||-152||Un 210 (-112)|
Odds as of June 9. Tip-off is Thursday at 10pm ET
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For the Clippers, big man Serge Ibaka (back) is out. He hasn’t played since Game 2 against Dallas.
On the Utah side, Mike Conley Jr is questionable with a hamstring strain – the same hammy that nagged at him late in the season. If Conley can’t go, Joe Ingles will play the nominal point man role.
Clippers vs Jazz Projected Lineups
|Reggie Jackson||PG||Joe Ingles|
|Paul George||SG||Donovan Mitchell|
|Kawhi Leonard||SF||Bojan Bogdanovic|
|Marcus Morris||PF||Royce O’Neale|
|Ivica Zubac||C||Rudy Gobert|
The night didn’t start out great for Mitchell, who said after the game he was battling nausea and light-headedness in the first half.
His play was erratic, finishing 5-for-14 from the field, including just 2-for-8 from deep for 13 points. As a team, the Jazz had a stretch where they missed a total of 21 straight shots in the first quarter. It all led to a 13-point deficit at the half.
Playoff Donovan Mitchell is different. pic.twitter.com/WF4vDJ4sgf
— Hilltop Hoops (@HilltopNBA) June 9, 2021
But Mitchell found his groove early in the third quarter and didn’t let up. He went 11-for-16 in the second half for 32 points, and went 4-for-7 from three-point range for his fourth career 40+ point playoff game. He also finished with five assists and three boards.
He got some help from Sixth Man of the Year winner Jordan Clarkson, who drilled six money balls for all of his 18 points. That helped offset a major off-night for Joe Ingles, who had just eight points on 3-for-12 from the field, though he did have seven assists.
GOBERT WITH THE CLUTCH BLOCK.
The Jazz complete the comeback to take Game 1 in Utah ‼️ pic.twitter.com/SAVUeb6qAz
— ESPN (@espn) June 9, 2021
Rudy Gobert, who could not find his way into the flow on offense, still managed 10 points and 12 boards, but made the play of the game. With LA down three in the closing seconds, the newly-minted NBA Defensive Player of the Year closed out on Marcus Morris in the corner, recovered off a pump fake and blocked Morris’ shot to end the game.
Los Angeles showed no ill effects of their gruelling 7-game series with the Mavericks in the first half. Though Kawhi Leonard and Paul George combined to go 3-for-13 for 13 points in the first 24, Ty Lue hit all the right buttons with his roster to build a 60-47 lead at the break.
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) June 9, 2021
He got Luke Kennard in early, and he responded with 11 points on 4-for-5 shooting. DeMarcus Cousins got dusted off, responding with a nice and-1 and drilled a three. Ivaca Zubac chipped in eight points and four boards, while Morris Sr had nine points on 3-for-4 from the field.
UTAH IS GOING WILD 🎵
Jordan Clarkson hits a corner 3 pic.twitter.com/loYFDenXn4
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 9, 2021
All that good work got wiped out in the second half, though, as LA wore down, getting outscored 65-49 to drop the opener. After a blistering 11-for-23 mark from deep in the first half, they went just 5-for-19 the rest of the way (26.3%). On the defensive end, they couldn’t contain Mitchell or the Jazz offense, allowing Utah to shoot 52.6% from the field, and 43.5% from three.
Turns around and knocks it down. pic.twitter.com/H18n6MuR1h
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) June 9, 2021
The good news was Leonard and George got cooking. Leonard went 7-for-13 after halftime for 16 points, finishing 21. George didn’t shoot it great (3-for-10), but he added 15 of his own, making plenty of hay from the stripe (7-for-8). He finished with a team-high 23.
What’s the Best Bet?
Utah has been able to absorb the loss of Conley this season, improving to 16-6 this year when he sits out. But that lack of playmaking, shooting and leadership could get exploited in a series that could be tight every game. That’s a lot of pressure on Mitchell to come through big-time, again. If Conley can’t go in Game 2, it’s a distinct advantage LA.
Tonight is Paul George's 10th playoff game shooting 25% or worse pic.twitter.com/T51qXGYbGE
— pickuphoop (@pickuphoop) June 9, 2021
The Clippers should be acclimatized to this series now, which should equal a full 48 minutes of Kawhi in terminator mode, and hopefully George picks up right where he left off. LA has some found treasure with Kennard’s shooting, and Reggie Jackson should be better after a 9-point performance that saw him foul out midway through the fourth quarter.
Look for the road team to bounce back, and return to Staples with this series all tied.
Pick: Clippers +3 (-112)