The Los Angeles Clippers take on the Utah Jazz on Thursday night looking to avoid another 0-2 playoff series hole. It’s time to continue our NBA Playoffs odds series and make a Clippers-Jazz prediction and pick.
The Jazz have only lost one game in the postseason, holding a record of 5-1. Utah is 4-1-1 against the spread after pushing the -3 line against the Clippers in Game 1.
The Clippers stand at 4-4 in the postseason overall, with an ATS record of 4-3-1. They are 3-1 on the road in the playoffs after losing their first road game in Utah.
Here’s how sportsbooks have set the Clippers-Jazz odds for Game 2.
NBA Odds: Clippers-Jazz Game 2 Odds
Los Angeles Clippers +2.5 (-110)
Utah Jazz -2.5 (-110)
Over 223 Points (-113)
Under 223 Points (-107)
Why The Clippers Could Cover The Spread
The Clippers are facing an early series deficit, but there should be no discomfort in Ty Lue’s group just yet.
For one, this isn’t a foreign scenario for Los Angeles. They faced an 0-2 hole in their previous series and still managed to pull off the win against the Dallas Mavericks.
Additionally, the Clippers didn’t play all that poorly in Game 1. The real problem seemed to be fatigue. Kawhi Leonard and company held a 13-point lead at halftime of Game 1, then flamed out in the closing periods.
The Clippers just got a chance to rest and regroup, and it’s a good bet they come out with a little more lasting punch in Game 2. The spotlight will shine brighter on Leonard, who shot below 50% from the field for only the third time this postseason.
When The Klaw has an off game, it’s a good bet he comes back with a vengeance. In the two previous outings following a subpar game, Leonard scored 41 points and 45 points on 66% and 72% shooting from the field, respectively.
Kawhi is a near guarantee to improve, and Paul George and Marcus Morris should as well. PG and Morris combined to shoot 8-of-31 from the field and the Clippers still only lost by three points. This is a good sign for LA.
Defensively, the Clippers allowed the Jazz to get up 50 3-pointers. After Utah shot just 7-of-27 from deep in the first half, the home team went 10-of-23 in the second half. The Jazz also shot 26 free throws, and the Clippers weren’t able to get nearly enough stops in the second half as that fatigue came back to bite them.
LA’s focus should be on Donovan Mitchell after he scored 32 of his game-high 45 points in the second half. With Mike Conley missing this matchup yet again, the Clippers need to key in on Mitchell.
Similar to the Mavs series, the strategy should be to make anyone but Spida beat them. Obviously, the Jazz have more weapons then the Mavericks, but the more shots that come from Royce O’Neale and Rudy Gobert, the better chance the Clippers have of winning.
Why The Jazz Could Cover The Spread
Utah has looked unstoppable of late, running off five straight impressive wins in the postseason.
The biggest reason for their success? Budding superstar Donovan Mitchell.
The only playoff loss so far came in Game 1 of the first-round series against the Memphis Grizzlies. Mitchell was controversially held out of the matchup even though he wanted to play. Since Mitchell’s return in Game 2, the Jazz haven’t lost.
Spida is averaging 31.8 points, 5.6 assists, and 1.2 steals while shooting 47.3% from the field and 40% from 3 in the playoffs. He torched the Clippers for 45 points in Game 1, including a few deep backbreaking triples.
The Jazz have surrounded Mitchell with some of the best shooters in the league who have the green light to fire at will. The Clippers might have finished with the highest 3-point percentage in the league, but if this game turns into a shootout, the Jazz can beat them at that game. Utah shot 43 3-pointers per game in the regular season at a 38.9% clip, and the playoff numbers are almost identical.
Defensively, the Jazz did a great job of taking advantage of the Clippers’ fatigue in Game 1. They should employ the same strategy in Game 2, where offense is the best defense.
The Clippers haven’t had two off days in over a week now, a rarity in the postseason. It’s certainly a possibility that the gas is out for a second time. As long as the Jazz push the pace in front of their roaring home crowd, the Clippers’ legs might not hold up for four quarters.
Final Clippers-Jazz Prediction & Pick
While there are still fatigue concerns, the Clippers should have enough juice in the tank to even the series. They looked great in the first half against the Jazz in Game 1 and appeared to be the better team. The Clippers’ best players really can’t shoot any worse than they did in Game 1, but the game still nearly went to overtime. Mitchell should come down to earth, while Leonard will make a massive impact to even the series. The best bet is to take the points with the Clips, but it’s also worth it to place a wager on the upset.
FINAL CLIPPERS-JAZZ PREDICTION AND PICK: LAC 116, UTA 110 (LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS +2.5)