It took until the last day of action for the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz to determine who gets home-court advantage, after the sides were confirmed to be first round opponents a while back. Los Angeles ends up with home-court after a victory over the lowly Sacramento Kings clinched it. Here’s a first look at the projected starters and the schedule:
Game 1– Sat. April 15 Utah at L.A. Clippers, 10:30 p.m., ESPN
Game 2– Tue. April 18 Utah at L.A. Clippers, 10:30 p.m., TNT
Game 3– Fri. April 21 L.A. Clippers at Utah, 10 p.m., ESPN2
Game 4– Sun. April 23 L.A. Clippers at Utah, 9 p.m., TNT
Game 5* Tue. April 25 Utah at L.A. Clippers, TBD
Game 6* Fri. April 28 L.A. Clippers at Utah, TBD
Game 7 Sun. April 30 Utah at L.A. Clippers, TBD
(All Times Are Eastern Standard Time, Pacific is -3)
* = If Neccessary
Clippers Projected Starters:
| | | |
Chris Paul | JJ Redick | Luc MBah A Moute | Blake Griffin | DeAndre Jordan
Raymond Felton | Jamal Craword | Marreese Speights
Jazz Projected Starters:
| | | |
George Hill | Rodney Hood | Gordon Hayward | Derrick Favors | Rudy Gobert
Joe Johnson | Joe Ingles | Boris Diaw
Los Angeles won the series 3-1 over Utah, giving them the tie-breaker and ultimately, home-court for the series. Here is a quick recap of each meeting between the two Western Conference foes.
Fighting through injuries, the Jazz struggled against the Clippers very early on in the season. At the point, the Clippers were 1-0, en route to a 14-2 start before injuries hit them as well. Austin Rivers’ led the way with 19 points on 8-11 shooting off the bench for Los Angeles, while DeAndre Jordan grabbed 16 rebounds. Blake Griffin had 18 points and 10 boards on 7-14 shooting while George Hill (18) and Dante Exum (10) were the only Jazz players in double-digits.
With Chris Paul out, the Clippers went into Utah and held the Jazz to 72 points en route to a solid victory. Utah only mustered up 49 points through the first three quarters while shooting an abysmal 32.2% from the field. Blake Griffin shined for Los Angeles, scoring 26 on 11-18 shooting while grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing out 6 assists, while Rivers had another solid outing with 15 points on 6-12 shooting. Rudy Gobert put up 10/14 in just 25 minutes of action, while Exum scored 10 for the second time against Los Angeles.
With a game advantage, Utah extended the lead behind a sharpshooting night from Gordon Hayward, who finished with 27 points and hit 4-5 threes (9-18 overall). Joe Ingles chipped in with 18 off the bench, and Utah shot 14-21 (66.7%) from behind the arc. Los Angeles was propelled by 33 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists from Chris Paul while Rivers again scored 15 on 6-11 shooting. Griffin was a shadow of himself, scoring just 8 points on 3-8 shooting.
With the season winding down, both teams wanted this to clinch the home-court in the first round. Well, Los Angeles wanted it more as they held the Jazz off, winning by 13.
Jamal Crawford caught fire off the bench, scoring 28 in 25 minutes on 8-12 shooting while Rivers went for 11 on 5-10. Marreese Speights chipped in with a double-double, scoring 11 and grabbing 10 boards on 4-7 shooting with 3 blocks to go with it. Gobert did what he could to keep Utah alive, scoring 26 and grabbing 14 rebounds on 10-13 shooting, while Joe Johnson dropped 17 off the bench. Just wasn’t enough as the scrappy Clippers won the season series.