According to Tony Jones of the Salt Lake City Tribune, Rudy Gobert will play tonight after missing the first three games of the first-round series between the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz.
Being told Rudy Gobert WILL PLAY tonight— Tony Jones (@tribjazz) April 23, 2017
Gobert was injured just 17 seconds into game 1, his NBA Playoffs debut. While this recovery hurts the Clippers’ chances, it’s certainly good for the game to have a young star healthy and active in the post-season. Rudy averaged 14 points, 12.8 rebounds, and a league-leading 2.6 blocks per game for the Jazz this season while competing for the Defensive Player of the Year award.
This follows earlier news that Gobert would be a game-time decision tonight:
Gobert injured his knee in the opening moments of the series just over a week ago, and has logged just 17 seconds of playing time. After a tremendous season, Gobert is considered among the favorites for the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award. In his absence, Derrick Favorshas started at center for the Jazz while Boris Diaw and Joe Johnson have each seen increased minutes.
For the Clippers, who are now playing without Blake Griffin, the return of Gobert may present a silver lining—Utah could play bigger lineups with two traditional bigs, allowing Doc Rivers more situations in which he can play Marreese Speights and DeAndre Jordantogether. Speights’ three-point shooting has made those lineups very effective offensively, but his defensive limitations only make the pairing tenable against certain match-ups.
On the other hand, if Gobert is fully healthy, his defensive impact could be enough to curb the effectiveness of the lethal Chris Paul-DeAndre Jordan pick-and-roll, which has shredded Utah’s defense in the last two contests.