The daily preview muscles into the paint with NBA Playoffs tips for Game 4 between LA Clippers and Utah Jazz in the Western Conference Semi-finals.
12:00 (AEST), Tue 15th Jun @ Staples Center, Los Angeles
History: Played 208: Jazz 121 V Clippers 87
Last meeting: June 13, 2021 (Game 3): Clippers 132 d Jazz 106 at Staples Center
Final Thoughts: LA Clippers are looking to square up their series against Utah Jazz in Game 4 after getting off the mark with a resounding home win.
Coming into Game 3 down 2-0, the Clippers powered to a 132-106 victory at Staples. Kawhi Leonard (34 pts, 12 reb, 5 ast) and Paul George (31 pts, 5 ast) – who hit six three-pointers – lived up to their marquee billing. Big man Nicolas Batum and guard Reggie Jackson both scored 17 points, as was as draining nine threes from 12 attempts between them. The Clippers shot 52.8 percent as a team from behind the arc.
The Jazz back-court of Donovan Mitchell (30 pts) and Joe Ingles (17 pts) both had five three-pointers. But the visitors couldn’t keep up with the red-hot hosts. Their inability to score in the paint also proved a key difference.
Utah got out to their two-game lead on the back of Mitchell’s dominant performances at home. He scored 45 points in a 112-109 victory in Game 1, and backed that up with 37 points in a 117-111 result in Game 2. Rudy Gobert (13 pts, 20 reb) was also hugely influential in the second encounter, while Jordan Clarkson scored 24 points off the bench.
The Clippers have already fought back from a 2-0 deficit in these playoffs, running down the Mavericks in seven games.
The Jazz were sluggish out of the blocks in Game 3. Mitchell is the player who needs to grab the early impetus for the visitors. Mike Conley is again likely to miss this game with injury.
But the form of Kawhi and ‘Playoff P’ last time out was an ominous sign for the Jazz. I can see another similarly one-sided outcome in Game 4.
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