Tonight's game in Utah represents the last chance this season for the Clippers to beat the Jazz. (The Jazz being one of the teams the Clippers play only three times this year, which I guess is a good thing considering how well they're playing.) Last season, the Clippers were swept by three teams all year - Detroit, Indiana, and of course Sacramento (as is the custom). This season they could suffer their first sweep before the new year.
The Clippers' struggles to win in Salt Lake City are well-known. I wrote a little about it back in November. But I just want to point out one little thing. Whereas the Clippers are 1-30 all time in the Delta Center, with a similar record of futility before that in the Salt Palace, they have NEVER LOST A GAME in Energy Solutions Arena! Maybe the nuclear wastes will have sapped Utah's strength. Or maybe the opposite is true... maybe Carlos Boozer has gained super-powers as a result of exposure to radiation! Of course... it's so obvious... why didn't I see it before? Holy DC Comics Batman!
For old time's sake, I found a recap of a brutal 2005 Clipper loss in my outbox. It typifies the Clippers recent frustrations in the Beehive State.
As for this game, it comes down to the Duke power forwards and the young point guards. If Brand and Livingston are outplayed by Boozer and Williams again, as they have been in the first two meetings, the Clippers cannot win.