The Los Angeles Clippers take on the Utah Jazz tonight in what could be the final game of the playoff series. It’s time to continue our NBA Playoffs odds series and make a Jazz-Clippers prediction and pick for Friday night’s Game 6.
The Jazz are on the ropes after dropping three straight games to the Clippers. Utah is 5-4-1 against the spread after failing to cover.
The Clippers stand at 7-5 in the postseason overall, with an ATS record of 7-4-1. They have now won three straight games at Staples Center this postseason after winning Game 4 at home.
Here’s how sportsbooks have set the Jazz-Clippers odds for Game 6
NBA Odds: Jazz-Clippers Game 6 Odds
Los Angeles Clippers +2 (-105)
Utah Jazz -2 (-115)
Over 220.5 Points (-110)
Under 220.5 Points (-110)
Why The Jazz Could Cover The Spread
For the first time in the series, Mike Conley is questionable to play. He joins Donovan Mitchell (game-time decision) on the injury list.
In a game that could make or break their season, it’d be an absolute shock to see Mitchell sit out and a mild surprise to see Conley miss this matchup. The odds are that both the Jazz guards suit up in a must-win scenario.
The Jazz have missed Conley and his veteran presence badly in their last three matchups. Utah is now averaging 12.4 turnovers per game in the postseason, the fourth most among all qualified teams.
With the Clippers trapping a hobbled Mitchell aggressively every chance they get, they’ve created havoc among a team without a true point guard. Ideally, Conley’s return can settle Utah down and help them play cleaner basketball.
The Jazz’s biggest focus tonight should be to slow down the Clippers shooters on the defensive end. Utah has been outshot from deep in two of their three losses, with the third game being a straight draw at 40.5% from three for both teams.
The Jazz’s biggest strength is the three-pointer. They scored the highest percentage of their points from three in the NBA during the regular season, and it’ll be difficult for them to win games without knocking down their shots.
The Clippers have shot above 40% from three for all of their wins in the series. This figure is bound to drop eventually. With Kawhi Leonard out once again, the Jazz should nearly be never sending double teams. The number of open looks will go down, and eventually, the Los Angeles shooters will slow down.
Expect the Jazz to come out and play gritty and determined perimeter defense in Game 6. As long as they hit their open shots, they’ll be in great shape.
Why The Clippers Could Cover The Spread
Both teams have dealt with the injury bug this series, but the Clippers are much more prepared to deal with it than the Jazz are.
With Conley out, the Jazz went through periods of disarray on the floor as they lack a true point guard on the roster. When Mitchell goes through cold stretches, Utah looks reliant on Jordan Clarkson and Bojan Bogdanovic to nail tough, guarded three-pointers and long jumpers. These guys are great players, but that offensive strategy is unsustainable.
The Clippers dealt with Leonard’s absence better than most people (including me) thought they would. Realistically, it shouldn’t have been that surprising. Los Angeles has had some of the best depth in the NBA all season.
Perhaps the biggest positive sign from Game 5 was the performance of Paul George. After being ridiculed all season for his inability to show up in big moments, George silenced the haters with a dominant performance, scoring 37 points and grabbing 16 rebounds while coming up with big buckets down the stretch.
If the Clippers are going to close out the series, they’ll need George to be just as good or better. Thankfully for Clippers fans, George has been much better at home than on the road in the playoffs. PG13 is shooting 46.4% from the field and 36.6% from three in Staples Center, as opposed to 37.2% from the field and 35.2% from three on the road.
The spotlight will be on the Clips’ one remaining star, but their supporting cast has been excellent of late.
Marcus Morris has been red hot in the last two games, shooting 80% from three and doing a respectable job defensively on Donovan Mitchell. Reggie Jackson has been a life-saver, hitting multiple huge shots down the stretch of both Games 3 and 5. Terance Mann filled in admirably for Kawhi Leonard in Game 5, and even Patrick Beverly is getting in on the fun by sticking Mitchell like he’s his conjoined twin.
The endpoint is that the Clips haven’t been reliant on just one guy all series, and this is a great sign come playoff time. They can survive a cold shooting night out of one of their big names, and they have enough to survive without Leonard.
Final Jazz-Clippers Prediction & Pick
While they might not have the depth the Clippers do, this Jazz team is too good to drop four straight games to them, especially when their opponent is not at full strength. Mike Conley should suit up for the elimination game, and at the very least, he should be able to give the Jazz another consistent shooter to ease the load from Mitchell’s back. The Clippers are historically atrocious in close-out games, and, likely, the trend continues here. I’ll take the Jazz to win a close one and force Game 7.
FINAL JAZZ-CLIPPERS PREDICTION AND PICK: UTA 112, LAC 106 (UTAH JAZZ -2)