The Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers are set to square off in a much-anticipated second-round series in the Western Conference. Many are looking at the winner of this series as the favorite to represent the West in the NBA Finals. Utah won two of the three head-to-head meetings during the regular season and certainly has the rest advantage heading into the Western Conference Semifinals. Let’s get a deeper Clippers-Jazz series breakdown with odds, the schedule, a prediction, and more.
Clippers-Jazz Series Odds (Updated 6/17)
Los Angeles Clippers (-164)
Utah Jazz (+138)
Clippers-Jazz Series Schedule
Game 1: LAC 109-112 UTA
Game 2: LAC 111-117 UTA
Game 3: UTA 106-132 LAC
Game 4: UTA 104-118 LAC
Game 5: LAC 119-111 UTA
Game 6: UTA 119-131 LAC
No. 1 Utah Jazz
The Jazz are one of the most well-coached and fundamentally sound teams in the entire NBA. They are a very unselfish team as they average the sixth-most passes per game in the league. They also love to get out and run in transition as they average the sixth-fastest pace of play as well. Utah will dish it around endlessly until finding an open and lethal 3-point shooter, which they have in abundance.
The perimeter play of the Jazz also opens up the floor for Rudy Gobert to run the pick-and-roll at an extremely high level. Gobert shoots 71.4% from the field and draws fouls 26.6% of the time when running the pick-and-roll. He completes a lethal offensive attack because as soon as you put more of a focus on him, the outside shooters are left alone once again. It’s important to note that Gobert will likely win Defensive Player of the Year for a third time in four seasons.
Utah is consistent and has all of the makings of a championship team. The focus will certainly be on the health of Mike Conley as he bounced back in 2021 and is vital to his team’s success. Conley was limited in the first round because of a hamstring injury, and the Jazz are praying that the rest advantage they possess will prove fruitful for the veteran point guard.
No. 4 Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers survived a scare in their first-round series against the Dallas Mavericks. They almost got beat by a one-man show, but prevailed with four wins in their last five games and two straight to close the series. Los Angeles now enters the second round with a ton of momentum behind superstar Kawhi Leonard.
The Clippers match up well with the Jazz because they have a similar formula for success and are actually more efficient from the field. Los Angeles led the league in 3-point percentage as a club and generated a league-leading 32.1 points per game off catch-and-shoot 3-pointers alone. The Clippers will counter Gobert’s presence in the paint by letting it fly from deep.
Los Angeles really cracked down on the defensive end toward the back end of the series against the Mavs as well. The Clippers held the Mavs to under 110 points in four of the last five games in the series. Los Angeles is arguably the better defensive team in this series outside of Rudy Gobert. The Clippers have the perimeter defenders to limit Utah’s production from the exterior. Ty Lue will have to find creative ways to force this Jazz team to adopt an inside-out offensive game plan.
Clippers-Jazz Series Prediction and Pick
As unpopular as this pick may be, I actually like the Clippers to move on to the Western Conference Finals. Utah has been so good this year, but I look at Kawhi Leonard and see a guy who won’t let his club lose for the second straight season in this round. Take the series spread for added security if you’re willing to sacrifice value.
Clippers-Jazz Series Winner: Los Angeles Clippers (+116)
Clippers-Jazz Series Spread: +1.5 (-230)