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Clippers Vs. Jazz (Preseason) -- Game Preview -- The rematch

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The Clippers meet the Jazz for the second time in three nights. The Clippers came back from a 14 point halftime deficit to beat the Jazz in L.A. Wednesday night. That game was a bit intense, despite it being preseason, and Utah will be looking for some revenge at home.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
2012/2013 NBA Preseason

October 20th, 2012, 6:00 PM
EnergySolutions Arena
Prime Ticket, KFWB 980 AM
Probable Starters
Chris Paul PG Mo Williams
Willie Green SG Gordon Hayward
Caron Butler SF Marvin Williams
Blake Griffin PF Paul Millsap
DeAndre Jordan C Al Jefferson
Advanced Stats (2011/2012)
89.2 (27th of 30) Pace 91.4 (12th of 30)
108.5 (4th of 30) ORtg 106.8 (6th of 30)
105.7 (18th of 30) DRtg 106.1 (19th of 30)
Chauncey Billups (Achilles surgery) out
Earl Watson (knee surgery) questionable
Trey Thompkins (knee) out
Raja Bell (disgruntled) out
Lamar Odom (knees) out

Grant Hill (knee) out

The Big Picture:

The Clippers play the Jazz for the second preseason game in a row after beating them by two points Wednesday night in L.A. The rematch will be in Salt Lake City, and both teams should be close to full strength, assuming the coaches don't decide to randomly rest a healthy player, which is always a possibility in preseason. Chauncey Billups is the only starter on either team that is unavailable. Mo Williams and Derrick Favors were each held out of the game in L.A. with minor injuries, but both should play tonight. For the Clippers, in addition to Billups, Lamar Odom and Grant Hill are expected to miss their second straight game each.

The Subplots

  • Comparison of key metrics. The Clippers and Jazz were somewhat similar teams last season in terms of efficiency -- better than average on offense, worse than average on defense. The Clippers happened to be a little better on both fronts. The Jazz play at a faster pace than the Clippers, but then again almost everyone does.
  • Blake Griffin. Griffin looked awfully smooth scoring 23 points Wednesday night. He looked a bit tired at one point in the third quarter, but seemed to find his second wind when he got the chance to dunk on folks. All the Clippers could have been excused if they were tired Wednesday in their first game since returning from China, and indeed the team lacked energy in the first half, though they did come back strong in the second. Hopefully they're fully adjusted at this point and will have their legs under them tonight.
  • Jeremy Evans. For the Clippers, if having Favors play means less of Jeremy Evans, that will be fine with them. Or at least it will be fine with Ronny Turiaf. Evans' block and dunk on Turiaf Wednesday was one of the best mulit-posters I've ever seen. In fact, I had to invent the term multi-poster just to describe it. A multi-poster is when a player puts the same opponent on multiple posters back-to-back.
  • Enes Kanter. Kanter's preseason numbers have been as impressive as his abs. He's going to make it very hard for the Utah to keep Al Jefferson on the floor -- and I like Big Al a lot. But Kanter's game appears to be evolving into something we've rarely seen. He seems to have the post moves of an international player like Luis Scola combined with uncommon quickness and strength. It's quite a combination.
  • Jamal Crawford. Crawford has been just terrific as a Clipper so far. In four preseason games he's leading the team in scoring at better than 17 points per game -- and that's in well under 30 minutes per game. He has carried the second unit for long stretches, and did all the scoring down the stretch in Wednesday's win. He also has done a good job finding his teammates, proving himself a more than willing passer. I wasn't a huge fan of the Crawford acquisition, but it's looking like a great get so far.
  • Our old friend Mo Williams. The Jazz definitely need better point guard play than they got Wednesday without Williams. Jamal Tinsley is a complete liability shooting the ball, and while Randy Foye shot the ball well against his former team, he's not much of a point guard. Having Williams back on the floor should make a big difference for the Jazz.
  • Transition basketball. In the first half Wednesday while the Jazz were building a 14 point halftime lead, they were running at every opportunity. Gordon Hayward in particular seemed on a mission to push the ball right down the Clippers throats on the break. After halftime the Clippers tightened up their transition D. It makes a ton of sense for a team like Utah to play at a fast pace -- when visiting teams come up to the altitude of Salt Lake City they'll have trouble keeping pace. It's a strategy that has helped Denver have a great home court advantage season after season. If the Clippers can force the Jazz to play halfcourt basketball they should handle they game no problem.
  • Hill and Odom. Grant Hill and Lamar Odom both took the night off Wednesday and neither is expected to play tonight. They didn't practice Friday trying to get their sore knees to feel better. With Hill, it's mainly the fact that he's 40, and practices and preseason games aren't the best usage of the relatively few miles he's got left on his tread. With Odom, he's carrying too much weight which is causing him knee pain, but that becomes a vicious cycle -- he needs to play to get into shape, but his weight is making it difficult to play. Not good.
  • Get the Utah perspective at SLC Dunk.
  • Lyrical reference:

    Jazz -- A Tribe Called Quest

    The jazz, the what? The jazz can move that ass
    Cuz the Tribe originates that feelin' of pizzazz
    It's the universal sound, best to brothers underground

    I haven't listened to rap or hip hop in many years, but back in the day... Anyway, old school hip hop like De La Soul and Jungle Brothers and yes, Q-Tip and A Tribe Called Quest used to be kind of my thing. But that was a long time ago.