The Clippers got a huge win in Game 5 to push the Jazz to the brink of elimination. Will Utah force Game 7 or will the Clippers advance to the Western Conference Finals? Let’s check our betting odds at BookMaker (visit our BookMaker Review)
Utah Jazz vs.L.A. Clippers
Friday, June 18, 2021 – 10:00 PM EDT at Staples Center
Clipper Redemption Story
The Clippers have long been maligned in the NBA. Whether it was constant choking or underperformance in the Chris Paul and Blake Griffin era, or their recent playoff embarrassment from the bubble, they have always been an afterthought, even when they were good.
It seemed as if this newer iteration of the Clippers was starting to go down that path. After losing three in a row to the Nuggets after going up 3-1 last season in the bubble, the Clippers are back to that familiar position; a closeout game to advance to the conference finals.
The Clippers are 0-6 SU in closeout games that would send them to the Western Conference Finals since 2015. However, now with the Lakers out and no team to share Staples Center with, this is the Clippers’ moment tonight.
This current group remembers that feeling of blowing opportunities to go to the conference finals and even without Kawhi Leonard in this game, the Clippers have a shot at re-writing their history. No one will fault them if they lose tonight and in a Game 7 on Sunday. Without Leonard, it would be a monumental task. However, they beat the Jazz in Utah in Game 5 to put themselves in this position and now at home, they have roughly a 50 percent chance to do it again according to the NBA Odds.
If LA wins this game and finally gets to a conference finals, it will be enough of an accomplishment to get some of the critics and naysayers off their backs. With Leonard done for the playoffs, if they can win two in a row against the Jazz without their best player, in my eyes and probably others, that’s enough to give the Clippers a lot of credit for their season, even if they are swept by the Suns.
The Sharp Pick
I think the Clippers know this too. This is a talented team with a mixture of veterans and young talent. Even without Leonard, the Clippers have more depth than Utah, who is only playing eight guys. We know we’ll see a Jazz bounce back here, I’m sure of it. However, the Clippers’ small lineup is giving the Jazz some issues and that continued in Game 5 and I think it comes down to the wire Friday.
However, the first half is another story tonight and it’s an area that with or without Leonard, the Clippers have had success. The Clippers are +16.5 points per 100 possessions in the first halves of this series. They are playing small and forcing Utah to play their style and it’s been working lately. They also lead the playoffs in first half offensive rating, averaging 129.3 points per 100 possessions in 12 games.
LA was also more than 40 points better per 100 possessions in their two home first halves in Games 3 and 4 of this series. If the Clippers seize their destiny tonight and beat the Jazz again, they will need to get a lead in the first half and force Utah to play from behind. Utah’s defense is good enough to play with a lead on the road, but I don’t think they are good enough on the road to play from behind.
I expect LA to come out blazing again from deep and to be ahead in the first half. What comes next is anyone’s guess. We still don’t know if Mike Conley plays for Utah and Donovan Mitchell is very obviously not 100 percent. The door is open, but LA has to come with it in all four quarters if they want to advance. I think they do, or at least they do for the first two quarters. I like the L.A clippers for my NBA Picks.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.