The Los Angeles Clippers take on the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night looking to win their third straight contest. It’s time to continue our NBA Playoffs odds series and make a Clippers-Jazz prediction and pick.
The Jazz are now 6-3 in the postseason after dropping two straight games to the Clippers. Utah is 5-3-1 against the spread after failing to cover in both games in Los Angeles.
The Clippers stand at 6-5 in the postseason overall, with an ATS record of 6-4-1. They are 3-2 on the road in the playoffs after losing both road games to the Jazz so far.
Here’s how sportsbooks have set the Clippers-Jazz odds for Game 5.
NBA Odds: Clippers-Jazz Game 5 Odds
Los Angeles Clippers +7.5 (-110)
Utah Jazz -7.5 (-110)
Over 220.5 Points (-110)
Under 220.5 Points (-110)
Why The Clippers Could Cover The Spread
The Clippers were dealt a huge blow with the news that Kawhi Leonard is out indefinitely with a knee injury and will be joining Serge Ibaka on the sidelines for Game 5.
While there is really no way to fully recover from losing your best player, the good news for the Clippers is that they have some of the best depth in the NBA.
Paul George has looked like a legitimate star in the last two matchups, averaging 31.0 points on 47.7% shooting from the field and 50.0% from 3. Marcus Morris snapped out of a shooting slump emphatically in Game 4, dropping 24 points. The Clippers are getting meaningful contributions on the defensive end from Patrick Beverley and on the offensive end from Luke Kennard. Los Angeles will rely on a group effort in Game 5, and if the role players’ recent play is any sign, they’ll have a chance to make this game competitive.
It’s not like the Clippers are in unfamiliar territory here. Kawhi only played 52 out of 72 regular-season games, giving the role guys plenty of time to get experience in games without their superstar.
Additionally, the Clips didn’t fare that badly with Leonard sidelined. They went 11-9 in the regular season without The Klaw, showing they are more than capable of holding their own.
Expect the Clippers’ role players to make this a competitive game for the first three quarters, at the very least.
Why The Jazz Could Cover The Spread
Playing a Clippers team without Kawhi Leonard will certainly make the Jazz’s job easier on both sides of the floor, even with Mike Conley still out with his hamstring injury.
Leonard is averaging 27.3 points and 7.5 rebounds a game in the series, and he frequently matched up with Donovan Mitchell on the defensive end.
After absolutely torching the Clippers in the first two games, Mitchell was slowed by a slew of defenders and frequent matchups with Leonard.
Mitchell shot 52.5% from the field in Utah, but his field goal percentage dropped to 40.0% in Los Angeles. The Jazz star was the subject of hard traps and pest-like defense as the Clippers made a concerted effort to make anyone but Mitchell beat them.
That strategy worked in Games 3 and 4. It’s unlikely to work in Game 5. The Clippers are down their best perimeter defender, and Mitchell gets to play in front of an electric home crowd. There’s a good chance Spida goes for 35-plus again in front of the Utah faithful to lead the offense.
Defensively, the Jazz are now free to key in on Paul George, the last remaining star on the floor for the Clips. George has been good of late, but his recent track record is not convincing. George’s shooting has been mediocre at best on the road this postseason, hitting at a clip of 41.4% from the field and 36.3% from deep.
PG is great as a sidekick, but it’s tough to see him leading the Clippers to victory against a hostile Jazz crowd. With Leonard’s 30 points off the board and George’s numbers likely to come down to earth, it’s tough to see how Los Angeles produces enough firepower to keep up with Utah in this one.
Final Clippers-Jazz Prediction & Pick
The Clippers have struggled to beat top teams without Leonard in the lineup. Los Angeles matched up with 10 over .500 teams without Leonard, including the Jazz once. They went 4-6, losing their Jazz matchup by 18 points. Down two starters now to a Jazz team that gets to play on their home floor, it’s hard to see LA making this one close. Mitchell and company should have a field day, and Paul George has not played well enough to put my confidence in him to lead the Clippers. The Jazz will win by double digits.
FINAL CLIPPERS-JAZZ PREDICTION AND PICK: UTAH 114, LAC 103 (UTAH JAZZ -7)