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Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers here despite injuries

51 wins a-piece. Both should have had more.

NBA: Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Clippers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz tip off against the Los Angeles Clippers tonight. The 4/5 match-up should be thrilling. It looks really good on paper. But then again, paper doesn’t always end up making it to the hardwood on-court performance. Both of these teams won 51 games this year, but on paper it’s likely that they should have had more. What was the big culprit this year? Injuries.

Both teams had big injuries to key players. The Clippers lost starters. The Jazz did as well, but were overall ravaged all season long. Let’s look at this a little deeper:

This season Doc Rivers had to use 18 different starting line-ups this year. Quin Snyder was forced into using 23. Both coaches weren’t doing this because there was big competition happening for starting spots in practice. Rather, it’s because they really needed to even find five healthy bodies at times. If you add it up, it’s 151 games missed by LA, and 195 for UTA.

  • Brice Johnson - 56 games
  • Alec Burks - 35 games
  • George Hill - 33 games
  • Derrick Favors - 32 games
  • Diamond Stone - 26 games
  • Rodney Hood -23 games
  • Chris Paul - 21 games
  • Blake Griffin - 21 games
  • Gordon Hayward - 9 games
  • Austin Rivers - 8 games
  • Boris Diaw - 8 games
  • Dante Exum - 7 games
  • Raul Neto - 7 games
  • Wesley Johnson - 6 games
  • J.J. Redick - 4 games
  • Joe Johnson - 4 games
  • Paul Pierce - 4 games
  • Luc Mbah a Moute - 2 games
  • Raymond Felton - 2 games
  • DeAndre Jordan - 1 game
  • Rudy Gobert - 1 game

No disrespect to Brice or Diamond, but they are not big deals. Hill, Burks, and Favors all missed 30+ games this year. Hood, Paul, and Griffin all missed 20+ games. Those six players are very important to their teams, on paper. And they missed at least 25% of the season. Yikes.

The good news is that Utah is finally healthy right now, missing only Neto right now. That’s pretty much the same case for LA, missing Rivers. Both of these teams should have more wins, but because of injuries are where they are. Or maybe they’re just so good that they are where they are despite the injuries.

Glass half full or half empty.

Whatever it is, it’s going to be a battle in this series.