Clippers Clinging to Playoff Hopes and Will Hang Close to Jazz

Troy Haliburton

Thursday, April 5, 2018 5:00 PM UTC

Thursday, Apr. 5, 2018 5:00 PM UTC

Utah is surging up the Western Conference standings but has yet to secure a playoff berth. Will tonight be the night they clinch, or will Los Angeles keep its slim playoff hopes alive?

NBA Betting Rundown: Clippers (42-35-1 ATS) vs. Jazz (39-39 ATS)Free NBA Pick: Clippers +7Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

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The Los Angeles Clippers are on the verge of playoff elimination but continue to fight for their playoff lives. Their next stop is a date tonight with the red-hot Utah Jazz, whose three-game winning streak has turned them into contenders for home-court advantage in a tight Western Conference playoff race.

Los Angeles is in 10th place in the West but only three games behind fourth-place Utah. With four games remaining, the Clippers can't afford to lose.

Utah has been successful at integrating Cleveland castoff Jae Crowder into their rotation. Crowder has turned into the 3-and-D player that Utah needs to complement star Donovan Mitchell. Another reason Utah has been successful recently has been their dominance in the paint, thanks to Rudy Gobert. The Jazz outscored opponents 102-60 on points in the paint in the last two games, and they were just as dominant on the glass with a 107-70 rebounding edge. That dominance down low should continue against a Clippers team with DeAndre Jordan at center.

While the Clippers struggle to score down low because Jordan and Boban Marjanovic aren’t consistent post-up options, they do have the NBA season's secret weapon in Lou Williams. The Clippers have gotten a new identity in the absence of the ball-dominant Chris Paul and have turned into a different team with Williams leading the attack. The former Sixth Man of the Year has helped turn around the Clippers' season. He is the scoring threat they need off the bench and has been able to supplement the offense since Blake Griffin was traded.

The Clippers, +7 underdogs on tonight's NBA odds board, have one of the league's best ATS road records at 24-15-1. One way L.A. can be sure to get the victory is to win the battle beyond the three-point line. The Clippers are one of the worst long-distance teams in the NBA, shooting just 35.2 percent from three-point range, but luckily for them the Jazz are one of the few teams behind them at 34.7 percent.

The team that can get it going from deep will be victorious. And with your NBA picks, smart money says it will be the Clippers.

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