The past week for the Clippers has been rough, to say the least. Their five-game winning streak was followed by just two wins in the next seven games. To make matters worse, three of those close losses might have been aided by controversial calls by the referees—just hear what Reggie Jackson had to say after the loss to the Raptors. To have the NBA’s Two Minute Report vindicate those sentiments adds insult to injury.
Unfortunately for the Clippers, their upcoming matchup against the Jazz, and the remainder of their schedule in general, won’t allow for them to slack off. We all know how the Jazz were victims of Paul George’s (and Terance Mann’s) ruthless playoff explosion, but they are still an elite team that holds the number one offensive rating in the league. The Jazz’s rebounding percentage is second in the league, a worrying statistic for the Clippers, who happened to give up 13 offensive boards to the Raptors in their most recent game.
When: Friday, March 18 at 6:00 p.m. PT
Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah
How to watch/listen: Bally Sports SoCal, AM 570 ESPN
Opposing perspective: SLC Dunk
Spread: Jazz -9.5, Clippers +9.5
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers: Reggie Jackson, Amir Coffey, Marcus Morris Sr., Nicolas Batum, Ivica Zubac
Jazz: Mike Conley, Donovan Mitchell, Juan Hernangomez, Royce O’Neale, Rudy Gobert
Clippers: Norman Powell, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Jason Preston, Jay Scrubb — OUT
Jazz: Danuel House Jr., Bojan Bogdanovic — DAY-TO-DAY; Trent Forrest, Udoka Azubuike — OUT
Aside from criticisms of the referees, they have had some low points in the past seven games. Luke Kennard has had a difficult time getting the looks he normally gets from distance, with the opposing teams typically sticking a quality defender on him without any space. He shot just twice against the Raptors and failed to score a point. Nicolas Batum hasn’t scored in double digits in nearly a week.
Still, it seems like it’s only a matter of time until the Clippers have their way against their opponents. After all, Reggie Jackson, Marcus Morris, and Terance Mann seem to be in a groove on offense, and if those three are able to carry most of the scoring load, a good performance from someone like Amir Coffey could turn what might be a close loss into an easy win. While wins are still needed, the Clippers might feel most comfortable knowing their eighth-seed spot is nearly cemented by this point in the season. We’ll see if their performance against the Jazz brings them back above .500.