The Utah Jazz will face the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round of the NBA playoffs beginning Tuesday in Salt Lake City. The fourth-seeded Clippers defeated the fifth-seeded Dallas Mavericks in the opening round, winning three road games in Dallas before closing out the series at home in game seven. Turning the idea of home-court advantage on its head, neither team won a home game until the series finale, with the Clippers earning all but one of their victories on the road. That may be a promising sign for LA who travels to Utah to open the second round of the postseason on Tuesday. Just as they did before their opening-round series against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Jazz were able to enjoy a few days off before facing the Clippers. The Jazz eliminated the Grizzlies in game five and had five full days off before hosting LA on Tuesday.
The only bummer about this Western Conference semifinal series between the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Clippers is that this isn’t the Western Conference finals, because that’s how good this matchup is going to be. The top-seeded Jazz will have the benefit of rest as they took care of the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round in five games, while the No. 4 Clippers will have been battle-tested after going seven games with the Dallas Mavericks before advancing to the second round. For more details about the match-up, check NBA’s official website.
Here’s a look at the series schedule:
- 1st Game: Tuesday, June 8 | 10 p.m. ET |
- 2nd Game: Thursday, June 10 | 10 p.m. ET |
- 3rd Game: Saturday, June 12 | 8:30 p.m. ET |
- 4th Game: Monday, June 14 | 10 p.m. ET |
- 5th Game*: Wednesday, June 16 | TBD |
- 6th Game*: Friday, June 18 | TBD |
- 7th Game*: Sunday, June 20 | TBD |
(1) Utah Jazz vs. (4) Los Angeles Clippers
Both of these teams have something to prove. The Clippers couldn’t make it past the second round a year ago after they fell well short of their championship expectations. The Jazz made an even earlier exit in the postseason, losing in the first round to the Denver Nuggets, who went on to beat the Clippers in the next round after coming back from a 3-1 hole. Both of these teams will be hungry to prove that last season’s early playoff exits were just a blip in the grand scheme of things, but at the end of the day only one team can advance.
Losing Game 1 vs. the Memphis Grizzlies was a bit of a wake-up call for the Utah Jazz. But now that Donovan Mitchell is back at full strength, they’ve once again shown that they can take down every single team in the league. Hopefully, Mike Conley’s injury is a thing of the past and he’ll be ready for the second round. The Los Angeles Clippers had to overcome a 0-2 deficit to beat the Dallas Mavericks in an exciting and unpredictable first-round series. Now, they won’t have it much easier against the Jazz and its plethora of shooters, also featuring the potential Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert anchoring the paint.
Conley is dealing with what the Jazz have diagnosed as a mild hamstring strain, which kept him out of the majority of Game 5 in the first round against the Grizzlies. Luckily, Utah didn’t need Conley’s services to put Memphis away in five games, but they certainly need him at full strength against a defensively tough Clippers team. Conley was brought in to be a secondary playmaker next to Donovan Mitchell to ease some of the workload off the franchise’s young centerpiece. After a rough go at it last year, Conley’s impact on Utah’s offense was huge. It was the reason why he got his first All-Star nod.
His ability to score off the dribble, find his teammates out of a pick-and-roll and shoot a career-high 3-point percentage this season (41.2 percent) make him absolutely essential to what the Jazz do on offense. Without him, Mitchell will be tasked with more offensively while having either Leonard or George glued at his hip for a majority of the series.
The benefit is that Conley will have had five full days to rest and recover from that hamstring strain before Game 1 on Tuesday, but there’s no telling what his level of health will be. Nets guard James Harden missed 20 games during the regular season with a hamstring strain, and just re-injured it in Game 1 against the Bucks. Hamstring strains are tricky, and while Conley would surely like to be out there for Game 1, it could be detrimental to the Jazz if he’s not fully healthy. Either way, if Conley plays and isn’t at 100 percent, or sits out with the injury, it’s going to cause problems for Utah.
Los Angeles Clippers
The biggest adjustment the Clippers were forced to make in the first round against the Mavericks was rolling out a small-ball lineup that featured Nicolas Batum at center. Dallas guard Luka Doncic made L.A. big man Ivica Zubac unplayable after the first two games of the series. Ty Lue’s adjustment was too much for the Mavericks. The Clippers had three shooters surrounding Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, which resulted in a lot of made 3s in the final two games, and clutch performances from the likes of Marcus Morris and Reggie Jackson.
While the Jazz don’t quite have someone who can exploit Zubac on pick-and-rolls at the same level as Doncic could, going small could make life difficult for two-time Defensive Player of the Year big man Rudy Gobert. At first glance it would make sense for the Clippers to play Zubac to match up with Gobert in hopes to contain him, but it could be far more beneficial for the Clippers to go back to that small-ball lineup and force Gobert to have to guard out on the wing.
It may not yield quite the same results as it did from Dallas, as the Mavericks are a much more porous defensive team — they were forced to play zone defense! — and Gobert is still very much a solid defender when he’s pulled away from the basket, but it’s the type of game-planning and adjustments that we could see throughout this series between two evenly matched teams. Given Serge Ibaka’s health is also still a huge question mark entering the series, and he likely has the best shot at checking Gobert, going small may also be out of necessity for the Clippers.
With how defensively stout both of these teams are (Utah ranks third in defense, L.A. ranks eighth), I expect the scores to fall on the lower side in this semifinal matchup. We’ve seen both of these teams get hot from deep before, and we’ve also seen them go ice cold. This could be the most exciting matchup in the postseason because of the efficiency on both sides of the ball by each squad. There may be one game where the Jazz hit clutch 3s down the stretch, while in another the Clippers go on a rampage from long range to get a win. It will be interesting to see which side is able to have the more consistent shooting throughout the series, because that could end up being the difference-maker.
The Jazz beat the Clippers in two out of the team’s three meetings this season, winning the first two games of the series. On January 1, the Jazz beat LA 105-100 behind a 33 point, seven assist performance from Mike Conley. The win was the first in a 24-game home winning streak to open the New Year. The Jazz again beat the Clippers on February 17, wining 114-96 and clinching the series tie-breaker. Los Angeles was without Leonard, George, Batum, and guard Luke Kennard, while the Jazz were playing without Conley.
On February 19, the Clippers earned their lone victory in the series 116-112. Both teams returned to their full lineups in the final meeting of the season allowing LA to eek out the victory. The Clippers led by as much as 13 points in the fourth quarter, a deficit the Jazz trimmed to just two points in the waning seconds, but were unable to get over the jump and sweep the season series.
If we look at the stats above, we come to the conclusion that our first thought makes sense. We expect these games to go Under; however, that outcome won’t happen in all of them. These sides already proved that in the regular season. Two games went with under 200 points but in the 3rd one, the threes were flying. We expect at least one game in these series where this will happen. Nevertheless, in all the rest, we expect the Game Totals to go Under. That’s why, for this match-up, we believe that the Over/Under markets offer more value than any other bet. Check our NBA Playoffs 2021 article for our full playoff predictions.
Basketball Betting & NBA Markets/Odds
Now that we have made our prediction on this second round match-up, it’s time to talk about basketball betting. First, it’s crucial to find a great bookmaker that offers various NBA markets with competitive odds. We suggest visiting, the Coinbet24 Bitcoin Sportsbook for the best odds and markets when it comes to NBA betting.
Additionally, visit the Coinbet24 blog to learn more about basketball, the NBA, and basketball betting. Once the first round is done, make sure to check with us again about more predictions. We will cover all the games in the Playoffs, until one of the 16 teams is crowned NBA Champion.