After almost meeting in the second round a year ago, the Clippers and Jazz will finally begin their second-round series tonight. On the latest episode of the Clips Nation podcast, Blake Harris and Sabreena Merchant went through what they learned about the Clippers in the previous series that they can take into the second round against Utah. They also got into what concerns them most about the Jazz in this lineup.
One of those concerns is home court advantage. Utah plays at altitude, which generally takes some time to get used to, and had the league’s best home record at 31-5 this season. The Jazz did drop Game 1 of the first round in their own building, but that was without Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell has since returned, and looks like his playoff-killer self.
The Utah guard averages 27.5 points per game in the postseason, sixth-best all-time among players with at least 25 games. He’s also been excellent against the Clippers throughout his career, averaging 25.8 points and 5.3 assists per game while shooting 58.0 percent on twos. Mitchell has only shot 34.9 percent on threes against the Clippers, but Ty Lue and company know that his jumper has improved in the past year, and he’s still 9-3 historically against L.A.
That includes a 2-1 record this season, though all three games took place before the trade deadline. The first one in Utah came with masked Kawhi Leonard and without Marcus Morris Sr., and the second in Los Angeles was without Leonard, Paul George, and Mike Conley. The two teams were essentially at full strength for the third matchup, which the Clippers won 116-112 despite 35 points from Mitchell.
It’s that game that Blake and Sabreena focused most on to get a sense of how well Utah can defend L.A. and vice versa, specifically when the Clippers go to their small lineup. These are two of the deeper teams in the league, and two of the best at generating threes. It will be fascinating to see how they go at one another.
You can listen to all that and more in the full episode embedded below, and to make sure you never miss a single show moving forward, subscribe to the Clips Nation podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, or Google Podcasts.
More news for Tuesday:
- ICYMI: James Hansen gave a Jazz perspective on this matchup.
- Here’s another view of Utah’s strengths and weaknesses against the Clippers from Sarah Todd.
- John Hollinger has a good preview on how the Clippers and Jazz stack up.
- Some Clippers love from Rachel Nichols on The Jump.
The Clippers had a lot of chances to let go of the rope - an issue for this franchise in the past. But if we're gonna keep bringing up a team's history, we have to yell just as loudly when they overcome it, and the Clips didn't just hold on this time, they did held together. pic.twitter.com/w7QJzrxRWV— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) June 7, 2021
- Jonathan Tjarks looks at where Luka Dončić and the Mavericks go from here.
- Congrats to Tom Thibodeau on winning Coach of the Year in a very close vote. Seven coaches made the ballot, but Ty Lue was not among them.