Austin Rivers foresees a potential battle in the L.A. Clippers‘ hands if they were to be matched up against the Utah Jazz come postseason time, a likely situation with the first three playoff spots clinched in the West and only two games separating the teams.
The Clips squandered a seven-point halftime lead on Monday, after the Jazz rallied off 10 straight three-point makes to take the game 114-108. There was a playoff-like atmosphere when these two teams met for the third time, which is now expected once they meet for a final time in March 25.
“It’s going to be a physical series, a hostile series,” Rivers told Jody Gennesy of the Deseret News when asked about the potential matchup. “They’re a really good team. They got good players. I would imagine it would be a physical, really physical series.”
Things got even more chippy as the game wore on with guards Chris Paul and J.J. Redick having run-ins with Jazz center Rudy Gobert on separate occasions. The latter was hit with an elbow in the fourth quarter and Paul had an encounter of his own with the Frenchman.
“He got into me. I didn’t even know I had touched him,” Gobert said of hitting Redick, which irritated the Clippers. The Jazz center claimed he was just trying to set a screen when his elbow caught him, adding: “I wasn’t trying to.”
“It was just a little tussle,” Paul said about his run-in with Gobert. “I’m not worried about him. He can play, but he just talks a lot.”
The Clippers (40-27) sit two games back from the fourth-seeded Jazz (42-25), a four versus five matchup that would certainly get people watching in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.