The Utah Jazz had a scare in game one against the Memphis Grizzlies but they bounced back and it was never truly close after the first contest. Now they will take on a Los Angeles Clippers team that faced themselves in an even bigger predicament with their backs against the wall taking on the Mavs.
Kawhi seemed to have played his last game in a Clippers uniform in Game 5 of that series against Dallas, trailing 3-2 in the series, but somehow LA managed to right the ship and win the series. Of course, when you have Kawhi Leonard, you have one of the greatest postseason players of the last 20 years so you can never quite count out the Clippers. He also has a great supporting cast of Paul Geoge, Serge Ibaka, and Pat Beverly.
But the Jazz were the number one seed in the werstern conference for a reason and the tandem of Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Goebert, and Mike Conley is really no joke. These guys can score quickly and play defense like none other. This team lost a heart-breaking series to Denver in the bubble playoffs in 2020 and you have to imagine that series is still very much on their minds.
Matchup to watch:
I have no idea how the Clippers plan on managing Goebert. He will faceoff against Ivica Zubac, who is not overly impressive in just about everyone’s opinion. Ibaka is currently injured and Demarcus Cousins is no longer the Cousins that dominated in the NBA during the mid 2010s. Goebert is a skilled defensive player who will protect the glass, and will also cause a headache on offense. This will be the biggest vulnerability for the Clippers and Ty Lue is going to need some kind of excellent gameplan to contain him.
The Player to Watch:
This is a series where Donovan Mitchell can really up his status in the NBA and become an absolute star by knocking off Kawhi Leonard and Paul George and a team that has a considerable amount of playoff experience. Luka Doncic has not been able to do it in two straight years and now Mitchell has the chance to do it as the number one seed.
I think Spida is an exceptional player and he could be on his way to a Finals game or at the very least a fantastic matchup against a guy like Chris Paul if he can get his team through this series.
I honestly don’t think this series is going to be all that close. The Clippers barely hung on against the Mavs who have Luka and basically no one else considering Kristaps Porzingis is no longer the guy he used to be and the Mavs have barebones. I’m not sure if it’s that LA doesn’t have the home-court advantage they’d like, but they better get used to a hostile crowd in Utah that they will have to face for the first two games. I think Utah will jump out to a hot start in this one and finish the series out in five.
By: Matt Lively CruelFan.com