A round one Game 7? Yes, please. The Jazz and Clippers clash at the Staples Center Sunday afternoon (3:30 p.m. ET) for the rights to advance to the second round and a series against the Golden State Warriors.
The Clippers did it again. They pulled off another first round, Game 6 upset with a 98-93 win over a sloppy and listless Jazz team Friday night. Head coach Doc Rivers’ group tipped off 5.5-point underdogs in the win. In 2015, L.A. spotted the exact number of points (+5.5), accomplished the feat beating the Spurs 102-96 at San Antonio. The Clippers went on to win that series in Game 7 (111-109) behind Chris Paul’s 27 points. Can the superstar point guard lead the way again versus the Jazz on Sunday? If Paul plays anything like he did last night, then the answer is an emphatic YES!
Paul put up 29 points on 10-of-20 shooting, dished out eight assists, and swiped a pair of steals in the Game 6 win. Since Blake Griffin was knocked out of the playoffs with an injured toe, there’s a greater onus on Paul to carry the team. His usage rate jumped up eight points from 24 to 32 percent since Griffin’s absence; the highest in his postseason career. In nearly 36 minutes per game, Paul is averaging 27 points with a 60 percent assist rate. The point guard’s 33.22 efficiency rating ranks only lower than Kawhi Leonard (37.38) among players clocking in at 15 minutes or more per game this postseason.
The Jazz has won two of three in the series from behind but had nothing left in the tank Friday night. Utah shot 41 percent from the floor, raining down bricks from the 3-point area (7-of-26). When the Jazz goes cold from deep, the poor shooting tends to carry over next time out, often influencing betting market results. For the season, Utah is 8-16 ATS when draining 30 percent or less from downtown in its previous game, including a 2-12 ATS run in its last 14 games. The team shoots just 33.3 percent from the 3-point line in this spot. When the Jazz hits less than the league average of 35 percent in a game, they are 11-28 ATS on the year.
Since 2002, the home team is 34-10 SU and 28-16 ATS all-time in Game 7. It has gone off -5.9 favorites on average, covering the number by 3.5 points per game. Bettors need to tread cautiously if the home team (Clips) tips off with a short price. When laying 4 points or less, it is 4-6 SU and 3-7 ATS. The home team has been an underdog once in this scenario.
Game 7 pressures, the Staples Center crowd and a determined Chris Paul will propel the Clips over the inexperienced Jazz. Utah’s come-from-behind magic will not conjure under these conditions. Lay the points with L.A for your NBA predictions.