The daily preview muscles into the paint with NBA tips for a showdown between Western Conference heavyweights LA Clippers and Utah Jazz.
14:00 (AEDT), Thu 18th Feb @ Staples Center, Los Angeles
History: Played 203: Jazz 118 V Clippers 85
Last meeting: January 1, 2021: Jazz 106 d Clippers 100 at Vivint Smart Home Arena
Final Thoughts: Have Utah Jazz overtaken LA Clippers as the Lakers’ biggest threat in the West? That’s certainly a question some will be asking if the conference leaders can snare a road win in this blockbuster.
But the 21-8 Clippers are running into a bit of form with four straight wins. They overwhelmed the Cavaliers (128-111) and Heat (125-118) on a back-to-back – despite the absence of marquee duo Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
George remains sidelined, while Leonard has been listed as questionable for this clash. Patrick Beverley returns after missing the win over Miami.
The 23-5 Jazz have won all eight of their games in February and have won 19 of their last 20. They beat the East-leading 76ers 134-123 two days ago, with Jordan Clarkson going off for 40 points from the bench (including eight threes).
Veteran Aussie Joe Ingles (20 pts, 5 ast) had another productive night in the starting line-up for Mike Conley Jr. Enjoying a career-best season, Donovan Mitchell remains the fulcrum of Utah’s charge.
Jazz call the tune against Clippers
The Jazz have won eight of their last 10 against the Clippers, including a 106-100 result in Salt Lake City on New Year’s Day.
Mike Conley Jr (33 pts, 7 ast) led Utah to the victory, hitting seven three-pointers. The best efforts of Kawhi Leonard (20 pts, 16 pts, 9 ast) and Paul George (25 pts, 8 reb, 4 ast, 6 stl) couldn’t haul the Clippers back from a 19-point three-quarter time deficit.
The Clippers are 10-4 at home this season and boast a handy 17-12 record against the line. The Jazz are 10-3 on the road and an NBA-best 21-7 ATS.
With George out and Leonard under a cloud, it’s hard to go past a Jazz that has won its last eight games by double-digit margins.
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