The Utah Jazz (3-3) will be visiting the Los Angeles Clippers (3-3) tomorrow for Game 7 of their first round NBA Playoffs series. The winner will take on the #1 seed Golden State Warriors. There are a lot of reasons why both teams want to go forward. The Clippers need a reason to keep this group together. The Jazz want to build momentum for their rise. Both teams get a larger slice of the shared playoff revenue the farther they go, and at least two more home games brings in millions more. Also, it’s about winning. And in this league if you do not then that is a label that’s very hard to be rid of.
Both teams are going to go for it. LA, we hope, has released a little bit more pressure after staving off being eliminated on the road. Utah, we hope, figured out that if you want to close a team out you have to play with more desperation than the team fighting for their lives.
This is a Game 7. And we love Game 7s. Utah’s been in a few, and if you include the Best of 5 years of the playoffs, they’ve going the distance 16 times. This one is #17. So what’s happened before? Will that help us understand what will happen tomorrow? We don’t know. But here are the details nevertheless.
Overall, the Jazz are 9-7 in final games, but only 2-3 as the road team. In game 7 series (eliminating the game 5s) Utah is 2-2. They won their last Game 7, back in 2007 against the Houston Rockets. And they have won four of their last five terminal games, beating the Houston Rockets (twice), Sacramento Kings, and Seattle Super Sonics, while losing to the Dallas Mavericks. (I still hate you Calvin Booth.)
As for tomorrow’s game, well Utah is going to be playing in an Arena they have more wins in than at home. It’s going to be interesting to see if Utah can continue to keep LA under 100 points. And it’s going to be interesting to see if LA can keep Utah missing open threes.
History tells us that the Jazz do okay in these terminal games. And 10 years ago the Jazz shocked the world by beating a more popular team on the road in Game 7. Will history repeat itself?
We’ll find out tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. (MT) on ABC.