Gobert's Probable Abscense Give Clippers Edge in Game 4

Rudy Gobert

Jay Pryce

Saturday, April 22, 2017 7:10 PM GMT

Saturday, Apr. 22, 2017 7:10 PM GMT

The Clippers hold a 2-1 series lead in their best-of-seven matchup with the Jazz. Can L.A. earn another road victory at Vivint Smart Home Arena on Sunday night (9 p.m. ET)? It depends on Rudy Gobert's status.

L.A. Clippers vs Utah Jazz

The Clippers rallied behind point guard Chris Paul to win Game 3 111-106 on Friday, claiming back home-court advantage lost in the opener. The nine-time All-Star scored 34 points on 12 of 22 from the field, while dishing out 10 assists and claiming seven rebounds. He scored 24 of the points in the second half, sparking a furious 15-0 run in the final quarter. Jazz head coach Quin Snyder had no answer from a tactical standpoint, even tapping 6-foot-8 Joe Ingles to defend. Paul adjusted to every look; it was his night.

Paul’s game-changing ways came at the expense of Blake Griffin. The power forward, who put up 11 points in the first half, was forced out of the contest in the second quarter with a sore toe. His absence allowed for more Paul touches. Griffin’s status for Game 4 is unknown*.

*Editor's note: since the writing of this article, Blake Griffin's status as out for the playoffs has been confirmed.

The Jazz entered the game with an unconventional emphasis on offense. Gordon Hayward dropped a career-high 40 points, capitalizing off a host of Derek Favors screens, while center Boris Diaw saw more minutes in an effort to create better offensive spacing.

In the end, however, the team’s defense, it’s bread-and-butter, faltered with starting center Rudy Gobert missing from the interior with a hyperextended knee. The 111 points allowed tied for third highest all season at Vivint Smart Home Arena. It was 12 more points than the betting market projected, third-most at home all year. The Clip outrebounded Utah for the third straight game, too. To get back into the series, the Jazz must find a way to play better in the paint with Gobert healing

This is a must-win game for the Jazz with the series shifting back to L.A. on Tuesday. Historically, 5-seeds have played well in this spot, going 19-9 SU and 17-11 ATS in Game 4 over the last 15 years.

Nevertheless, if Gobert misses another matchup, the edge must go to the Clippers. Since the leading candidate for Defensive Player of the Year became a regular starter last season, Utah is 4-15 SU and 7-12 ATS versus teams averaging 100 points or more for the season when he sits. Three of these defeats occurred in four games against the Clip, including two home losses. If Gobert is in, it’s a win. If he’s out, a Jazz victory is in serious doubt. Lean the Clippers ATS until Gobert's status is clearer.

Free NBA Pick: Clippers +2.5Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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