The Los Angeles Clippers have found themselves back in the 4/5 playoff match-up, this time against the young and talented Utah Jazz. As is tradition, I e-mailed Clips Nation’s staff to find out their takes on the upcoming series.
Last season, 8 staff members picked the Clippers in 6 games, 6 picked the Clippers in 5 games, 2 predicted an LAC sweep, 1 picked Clippers in 7, and 1 picked Blazers in 7. The Blazers, of course, would go on to win that series in 6 games, but none of our writers had the foresight to predict season-ending injuries to Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.
Let’s see how we do this year:
Lucas Hann: Clippers in 5. I think that the Clippers got hot and healthy just at the right time. They’ve got an advantageous first-round match-up and a huge showdown with Golden State looming in the second round—they need to take care of business here, and they know it.
Robert Flom: Clippers in 5. The Clippers have more talent across the board than the Jazz, and they match up well with the Jazz's strongest two players in Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert. If Luc Mbah a Moute can contain Hayward (well within his capabilities), and DeAndre Jordan is able to match Gobert almost blow for blow, the rest of the Clippers' roster should easily outweigh the their counterparts on the Jazz. I don't see many blowout victories, but I think the Clippers should end up prevailing in relatively short order.
Erik Olsgaard: Clippers in 7. Los Angeles hasn't won a series in less than 7 games in the Chris Paul era, so I'm just playing the odds. Truthfully though, I think Utah's lack of playoff experience will be the determining factor here.
Jonathan Hu: Clippers in 5. The records of the two teams are somewhat deceiving given how injured the Clippers were at points during the season. More importantly the Clippers have shown some signs of life of late and should feel some pressure to end this series as soon as possible given the prospect of facing the Warriors in the next round.
Steve Perrin: Clippers in 5. I don't think it's rocket science. In four meetings this season, the Clippers won three. In fact, in the eight halves of basketball the teams played this season, the Clippers won seven, and the only half the Jazz outscored the Clippers, Utah made 11 consecutive three pointers. So assuming that doesn't happen again...
Adithya: Clippers in 7. This team has always let first-round opponents hang around longer than they should, and although I have a feeling this year's group is different, I'm not betting against history (not this round, at least). The Austin Rivers injury, combined with Utah's youth and length, will contribute to this series going the distance.
Thomas Wood: Clippers in 5. I'm reminded of the nascent Clippers' experience with the San Antonio buzzsaw in 2012. It takes time to develop the kind of instantaneous and instinctive play required in the postseason, time that the Clippers have spent and these Jazz have not. (But these are the Clippers, so they'll hand over one game.)
Taylor Smith: Clippers in 7. Despite the Clippers having held a fairly strong head-to-head advantage over the Jazz over the last several years, I doubt this series will be a breeze. Utah won 51 games despite losing several of their key players for extended stretches during the regular season. They went 12-2 when the starting unit of Hill, Hood, Hayward, Favors and Gobert started together. Some of those guys may not be 100 percent, but they’re still really good. LAC will pull it out, but the Jazz will muck things up along the way.
James Nisky: Clippers in 5. Hayward can't go for the 40 per game which they'd need to win, and they don't have a reasonable answer for Blake Griffin. Keep an eye on DJ camping under the basket and clogging the lane for Blake. The last time these teams played DJ dragged Gobert and others right into Blake's space 5 times in the first quarter alone. We don't need Blake vs. 3 at the rim. If the Clippers keep the lane open, they should take it in 5 and we can expect 27 / 10 / 6 from Blake... should be enough for series MVP.
Shapan Debnath: Clippers in 6. I'd be more confident in this series being shorter if Austin Rivers was healthy, as I do feel like this Jazz team, as talented as they are, are a good matchup for the Clippers. Their bench will chip away at leads the starters get, and this series will be competitive. The Jazz have interesting counters at most every position on the floor, but Blake Griffin will have to really put his stamp on this series.
boltsfan21: Clippers in 5. The only time the Jazz beat us this season was a night when the whole team channeled Reggie Miller and couldn't miss from deep. The other three games were far more representative of the talent disparity between the two teams. Simply put, they can't beat us unless they shoot the lights out, and they just aren't a team that can do that more than once in five games.
Max Jeffrey: Clippers in 7. The Jazz have an underrated amount of depth and defensive savvy, and a team without lofty expectations can be quite dangerous in the playoffs. The early absence of Austin Rivers will certainly be a factor for L.A., but they possess greater depth and postseason experience than Utah. Ultimately, I believe that the Clippers will win this series and Chris Paul will be their MVP.
I’ll keep updating this article as I get more e-mail replies from Clips Nation staff members. In the meantime, what’s your pick for the series? Let us know and defend your prediction in the comments.
How will the Clippers-Jazz series end?
This poll is closed
Clippers in 4
Clippers in 5
Clippers in 6
Clippers in 7
Jazz in 4
Jazz in 5
Jazz in 6
Jazz in 7