The Utah Jazz are currently on a six-game winning streak since losing Game 1 in the first round against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Los Angeles Clippers have done everything they can to beat the Jazz, but Utah has so far proven to be the more superior team through two games.
Los Angeles is in a deja vu moment right now, as they went down 0-2 to the Dallas Mavericks in the first round. Rather than backing down and quitting, the Clippers came together and wound up defeating the Mavericks in Game 7. Although this team is down to the first place Jazz, Los Angeles is still very much in this series.
The Clippers have plenty of playoff experience on their roster, which bodes well for their chances moving forward. Even though things are looking rather bleak right now, Los Angeles has the tools necessary to bounce back, especially when their backs are up against the wall. For that reason, here are three reasons why the Clippers shouldn’t panic after going down 0-2 again.
Clippers have been here before
Remember in the 2020 NBA Playoffs when the Clippers had a huge 3-1 series lead over the Denver Nuggets and blew it? Well, the Clippers remember and they’re trying to learn from their mistakes. Many believed they were going to be bounced out early this year after falling 0-2 to the Mavericks, but the team pushed through and wound up advancing. They’ve found themselves in the same position they were just in, which means the roster likely isn’t in panic mode.
However, they will be in desperation mode, as falling 3-0 is basically a nail in the coffin. Los Angeles’ playoff experience from the last two years gives this team an edge. They know what it takes to come back from being down two games, and with the roster they have, anything can happen. Now that the matchup is going back to LA, the Clippers are in a prime position to get back into it.
The first 2 games have been close
Although they’ve lost two straight to the Jazz, each game has come down to the wire. Game 1 was only clinched due to a clutch Rudy Gobert block, while Game 2 was incredibly close throughout. Home teams have the advantage and the Clippers have kept both games within reach while on the road. Los Angeles should still be feeling confident, but it’s do-or-die time for the Clippers.
Look for LA to come out aggressive for Game 3. The rotational guys fell flat in Game 1, but Reggie Jackson provided a huge boost for Game 2. If the Clippers can get one more guy, whether it’s Marcus Morris or even DeMarcus Cousins (who has been great with the minutes he’s been given), the Clippers could find themselves cutting into Utah’s series lead.
Is there any other reason for the Clippers to not panic? Kawhi Leonard is undoubtedly one of the best players in the league, and we’ve seen him carry a team to a championship before. He’s solid defensively and comes up clutch with the ball in his hands. The Clippers should continue to run the offense through him, as Leonard is the leader of this team.
Look for Kawhi to potentially get more aggressive in Game 3, especially on the defensive end. With Donovan Mitchell scoring at will, the Clippers have to find a way to contain him. Having Leonard and Paul George take turns guarding him would be ideal, though, the Jazz offense is capable of getting open shots often. Either way, having Kawhi Leonard on the roster will always give the Clippers a fighting chance.