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Preview: Clippers backups try to spoil Utah's playoff hopes

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The Clippers are resting just about every regular rotation player tonight in Utah. UNLEASH THE AUSTIN RIVERS!

Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

2015/2016 NBA Regular Season
@
Utah Jazz (39-39)

Los Angeles Clippers (50-28)
April 8, 2016 — 6:00 PM PDT
Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah
Prime Ticket, KLAC AM 570
Win-Loss Breakdown ('15-'16)
16-14 East 22-8
23-25 West 28-20
7-8 Division 9-6
24-15 Home 27-12
15-24 Road 23-16
14-27 .500 + 19-21
25-12 - .500 31-7
5-4 OT 4-1
2-8 L10 6-4
Projected Starters
Shelvin Mack PG Pablo Prigioni
Rodney Hood SG Austin Rivers
Gordon Hayward SF Paul Pierce
Derrick Favors PF Luc Mbah a Moute
Rudy Gobert C Cole Aldrich
Efficiency Stats ('15-'16)
98.0 (17th of 30) Pace 98.1 (T-14th of 30)
103.1 (15th) OffRtg 106.5 (6th)
101.5 (8th) DefRtg 101.2 (6th)
1.6 (12th) NetRtg 5.3 (5th)
Injuries/Other
Alec Burks (ankle) Questionable

Blake Griffin (rest) Out

DeAndre Jordan (rest) Out

Chris Paul (rest) Out

Wesley Johnson (rest) Out

J.J. Redick (rest) Out

Jeff Green (knee) Questionable

Austin Rivers (ankle) Questionable

What's new with the Clippers?

Doc Rivers and the Clippers are now in full playoff preservation mode. With only four regular season games remaining, he's taking no chances tonight and is resting five rotational regulars, including the entire "core four." The main objective from here is to avoid further injuries at all costs until playoff time. Locked into the No. 4 slot, all that's left to do for the Clippers is to sit back and watch the melee for the fifth seed, which is still very much up in the air. Any of the five teams immediately underneath them can still nab it, and we'll likely have to wait until after the final day of the season until we know who LAC's first round opponent will be.

What's new with the Jazz?

Well, Utah is one of those aforementioned five teams duking it out for four playoff spots. They find themselves tucked into the No. 8 position heading into tonight, though just a game ahead of the Rockets. Considering Houston owns the head-to-head tiebreaker with Utah, the Jazz are far from safe at this point. Fortunately for them, their remaining schedule is fairly easy. Utah faces the Clippers (without their stars), the Nuggets, Mavericks and Lakers to close things out. Other than the game with Dallas that should be an all-out war, that should be three surefire wins for them.

Do the Clippers stand any chance in this game?

Well, LAC went into Oklahoma City last week without Jordan, Paul, Griffin and Redick and came damn close to pulling off a shocking victory over a Thunder squad playing all of their guys. So based on that it would obviously be foolish to say the Clippers can't come out of this one with a win, especially considering the Jazz aren't in the same echelon as OKC. On the other hand, Utah is desperate at this point and doesn't do a whole lot of losing at home. Unless the likes of Austin Rivers and Jamal Crawford channel their inner Durant and Westbrook again, Utah shouldn't have much of an issue earning win No. 40.

Never say never, though!

Game day song of choice

Contrary to what you might think, Utah has produced quite a few semi noteworthy musical acts including The Used, Royal Bliss, Neon Trees and The Moth & The Flame. According to Wikipedia, the following band burst onto the scene after winning a battle of the bands competition at BYU in Provo:

Who knew? The Jazz host whatever's left of the Clippers tonight from the impeccably named Vivint Smart Home Arena tonight at 6:00. Join us as the Clips shock the world!