After surviving the Dallas Mavericks in round one, the LA Clippers will return to action on Tuesday night for the first game of their second-round series with the Utah Jazz.
Utah nabbed the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, finishing the regular season with a league-best 52 wins. They made short work of Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies in the opening round of the playoffs, taking the series in five games.
Unlike the Mavericks, the Jazz take a by-committee approach to their offense. Donovan Mitchell averaged 26.4 points per game during the regular season, while Jordan Clarkson, Bojan Bogdanović, Mike Conley, Rudy Gobert and Joe Ingles all posted figures in double-digits. Utah finished the season with the third-highest offensive rating, fourth-best defensive rating and No. 1 net rating.
The Clippers lost their season series with the Jazz, 2-1, though that doesn't quite paint the whole picture. LA was fully healthy in just one of the contests, which also happened to be their only win. Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Nicolas Batum were all absent in one of the losses, while Marcus Morris Sr. missed the other.
For the Clippers to steal Game 1 on the road, they'll need to find ways to exploit Utah's tricky defense. This is a disciplined group that rarely sends opponents to the line, and they were one of the best teams in the league this season at limiting three-point attempts. If the Clippers are run off the perimeter, they'll have to decide between attacking Gobert at the rim or settling for jumpers outside the paint, which the defense will be willing to give them.
Leonard and George are certainly capable disruptors, and there are weak points in this Jazz defense. Bogdanović isn't a strong defender, meaning Utah could look to Ingles and Royce O'Neale to handle LA's dynamic duo. But if they prove to be ineffective, Leonard and George will have no problem getting the looks they want.
After falling behind 0-2 in the first round, the Clippers will want to avoid another slow start in this series. The Jazz do have a significant rest advantage going into Game 1, but LA has been at its best this year with short rest. Don't be surprised if the Clippers play with more urgency and steal homecourt from Utah later tonight.
How to Watch
Matchup: LA Clippers (0-0) at Utah Jazz (0-0)
Date: Tuesday, June 8
Time: 7:00 p.m. PT
Venue: Vivint Smart Home Arena
Spread: Jazz -4
Moneyline: Clippers +146, Jazz -174
Point Total: O/U 221.5
Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook