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Clippers vs. Jazz Preview: Can the Clippers get back on track?

The Clippers hope to end a losing streak at three.

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Utah Jazz Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Game Information:

Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California

When: 7:30 PM PT

How to watch: Prime Ticket, AM 570

Projected Starting Lineups:

Clippers: Shai Gilgeous-AlexanderAvery BradleyTobias HarrisDanilo GallinariMarcin Gortat

Jazz: Donovan Mitchell - Royce O’Neale - Joe Ingles - Derrick Favors - Rudy Gobert

Injuries:

Jazz: Ricky Rubio - Out (hamstring); Dante Exum - Out (ankle); Thabo Sefolosha - Out (hamstring); Tony Bradley - Out (knee); Raul Neto - Out (groin)

Clippers: Luc Mbah a Moute - Out (sore knee)

The Big Picture:

The Clippers and Jazz are meeting for the first time on Wednesday and, although the Clippers haven’t had to worry about them just yet, these matchups will be huge for both teams. The Clippers, at this moment, only have two fewer losses than the Jazz, who are 8th in the Western Conference standings (the Clippers are at 6th, right now). This, of course, means that a Clippers’ win not only helps themselves but also fends off a team on their tail.

With the loss against the Pelicans, the Clippers have lost their third game in a row (their second three-game-losing streak this season). The losses — Nuggets, Pistons, and Pelicans — have all come against teams with elite level big men. The games likewise lacked a confident Tobias Harris: while Tobias had a good shooting night against the Pelicans, he has been tentative in this stretch. Against the Nuggets and Pistons, Harris shot well under 50% from the field (he’s at 49.5% for the season).

Although the Jazz’ roster has been decimated by injuries, they have found a way to win games behind Donovan Mitchell, who is coming back to form after a rough start to the season. They have won five straight games going into Wednesday, and have done so in come-from-behind fashion in several cases. The Clippers had incomplete comebacks against the Pistons and Pelicans, but trying to finish a comeback against the Jazz will be even tougher.

The Antagonist:

The Clippers’ rotation is not working at the moment. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is working through a slump, Avery Bradley continues to vary widely in production and competence, and the Clippers don’t have an answer for skilled opposing big men. The combination of Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell will give Gortat and Bradley issues, while Joe Ingles — a constant reminder of past roster failures and missed opportunities — seems to always play well against the Clippers.

Notes:

  • Rudy Gobert is tied for first in the NBA in double-doubles in 2018-19 (36): The Clippers have rebounding weaknesses, so expect another double-double for Rudy.
  • The Jazz have won the last three meetings with the Clippers: Blake Griffin was the leading scorer in the Clippers’ most recent win over the Jazz.
  • The Clippers have better season percentage in FG%, 3P%, and FT% than the Jazz this year: But Wednesday is Italian Heritage Night, so the Clippers might have heavy legs from all the pizza.