Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#659 Utah Jazz vs.
#660 Los Angeles Clippers
Saturday, June 12, 2021 at 8:30pm EDT
Staples Center, Los Angeles
Written by Roberto Arguello

The Clippers host the Jazz Saturday night in Los Angeles as the Clippers find themselves in an 0-2 hole for the second consecutive series. While they lost the first two games of their first-round series against the Mavericks, this time they still have the opportunity to even the series with consecutive wins at home. This will be easier said than done against a Jazz team that had the best record in the league and has more weapons than the Mavericks.

Can the Jazz Take a Commanding 3-0 Lead?

If the Jazz cover or pull the road upset, they must continue making shots at a high level while taking advantage of the Clippers’ defensive weaknesses. All-Star Mike Conley (hamstring) is questionable to play Saturday after missing the first two games of this series. If Conley is available, this will create significant value on the Jazz as he is a player who can create his own shot, score efficiently, and create quality shots for others.

If Conley remains out, the pressure will remain on Mitchell, Bojan Bogdanovic, Joe Ingles, and Jordan Clarkson to create shots for the Jazz offense.

Mitchell has been incredible in the postseason as the Jazz are undefeated in the six games he has played thus far. He is averaging 41 points per game this series as his electric pull-up jump shots have been the difference in each game. If the Clippers don’t adjust from their defensive scheme of icing pick-and-rolls, then Mitchell will continue to get in-rhythm three-point shots and score efficiently.

Ingles plays a key role as an efficient pick-and-roll ball-handler who makes quality decisions who is also incredibly efficient shooting from beyond the arc. Bogdanovic has stepped up defensively against Leonard while also continuing to make tough shots offensively. He has been a significant boost to the Jazz’s offense that missed him in last year’s playoffs due to a wrist injury. Clarkson, the Sixth Man of the Year, remains a streaky scorer who can create for himself and make incredibly tough shots, but he isn’t much of a threat to get others involved.

Can Kawhi and PG13 Carry the Clippers?

If the Clippers win and cover as home favorites, it will be because they shoot the ball better than they have in the first two games of this series. Serge Ibaka (back) had surgery this week and will miss the rest of the playoffs.

The Clippers, who had the best three-point shooting offense in the history of the NBA, shot over 41% on threes in the regular season. However, they have struggled to make enough open shots in the first two games of this series as they have shot less than 35% on both catch-and-shoot threes (34%) and wide-open threes (28%). The Clippers must be better from beyond the arc against the Jazz’s defense which held opponents to the second-lowest three-point shooting percentage (34.8%) this season.

Kawhi Leonard needs to have a big game for the Clippers to win and cover. He is their best player, and if they match him up more frequently against Donovan Mitchell while getting him downhill offensively, Clippers bettors should like their chances. Paul George must also improve on his shooting after making 12 of 35 field goals (including five of 14 threes) in the first two games. The Clippers have a handful of capable shooters surrounding these two, but if they are aggressive in attacking the basket while efficient with their jump shots, the others should be efficient enough on quality shots to win.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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Conley’s injury status and Ty Lue’s coaching adjustments will determine the value in this game. If Conley is out, I like the Clippers’ chances of winning and covering. Per Shot Quality, the Clippers were expected to win 1.24 of the first two games while the Jazz were expected to win 0.76 games, but the Jazz have been more efficient shooting the basketball than expected and won two close games at home. I expect the Clippers to get a shooting boost at home while the Jazz regress slightly. Making key defensive adjustments like playing Ivica Zubac at the level of the pick-and-roll instead of in a drop while the point-of-attack defender ices the screen will be important, but the Clippers’ schemes this postseason have been frustrating to watch. Nonetheless, I like the value on the Clippers as Leonard will continue to play his best with his team’s back against the wall as they beat the Jazz before Conley’s return.

Prediction: Clippers -4.5

Full-Game Total Pick

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With the Clippers returning home, expect their offense to improve to the level we saw in the regular season when they led the NBA in three-point shooting at 41.8%. Their secondary scorers will improve while George also sees an uptick in efficiency. The Jazz’s shooters will continue to get their own, and although I lean toward the Clippers to win and cover if Conley is out, I love the value on the over.

Prediction: Over 223
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Written By Roberto Arguello , "Roberto Arguello"

Roberto is a college basketball and NBA sports betting analyst. Prior to joining our team at Winners & Whiners he broadcasted for PGA TOUR LIVE and was the voice of Stanford Football on KZSU 90.1 FM. His sports betting articles have been featured on Sporting News, The Action Network, and BetQL. Roberto enjoys long romantic walks through the fairways and fullback handoffs.