The last time the Jazz (18-27) played the Clippers (23-21), the Jazz were on a 4 game winning streak, Blake Griffin, Danilo Gallinari, and Patrick Beverley were all out on injury, and the team records were (11-11) and (8-12) respectively. In a pretty convincing blowout, the Jazz won 126-107, with 28 points off the bench for Alec Burks, 24 for Donovan and a solid 12/12 game for Favors.
In the roughly 25 games that have transpired since then, the fortunes of the teams have flipped. Even with Blake Griffin, Danilo Gallinari, and now DeAndre Jordan missing time, the Clippers have launched themselves into the West’s 8th seed behind a career month (career season really) for Lou Williams, who’s averaging 30.0 points and 5.8 assists for the month of January, highlighted by his career high 50 point outburst against Golden State that Steve Kerr predicted. The man is averaging a career high 23.2 points per game (as a 31 year old), the one constant in the Clippers’ season that’s keeping them afloat.
If only the Jazz had such a dynamite player...
Donovan Mitchell is in some elite company. pic.twitter.com/m4QC6nzADD— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 18, 2018
Also would you look at the assists Mitchell dished out against the Knicks? Even when he’s not making shots, Mitchell still manages to make amazing plays.
When: Friday, Jan. 19, 2018 • 10:30 PM ET
Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena • Salt Lake City, UT
TV: AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain, MSG
Radio: 1280 and 97.5 The Zone
Dante Exum - Shoulder - Out indefinitely
Rodney Hood - Lower Left Leg Contusion
Thabo Sefolosha - MCL avulsion, out for the season
DeAndre Jordan - Ankle
Danilo Gallinari - Glute
CJ Williams - Ankle / G-League
Austin Rivers - Ankle, Heel
Patrick Beverley - Knee Surgery, out for the season
What To Watch For:
Rudy Gobert came back last night after not having played in over a month. He was slated to play about 24 minutes, but ended up playing a highly effective 30 minutes, with 23 points, 14 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Look to him playing fewer minutes on this back to back, but similarly impacting the game. Hopefully the lineup-of-spacing-death won’t reappear so Faves can get back to his previously excellent form.
The 6’5” last pick of the 2016 NBA draft played point guard for the Jazz in the summer league, spending the 2016-2017 season with the Stars before being renounced in summer 2017. He’s found his way onto the Clippers and actually has been playing very well as their starting small forward, dropping a career high 22 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists while guarding Kevin Durant in the Clips’ recent upset against the Warriors. Because of this, he’s started every game since, and is averaging a solid 12.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.4 steals on the season. Look for Mr. Irrelevant to try to have a revenge game against his former team.
There’s a lot of rumors swirling around about numerous Jazz players - and Clippers players. Rodney Hood, Derrick Favors, Joe Johnson, Alec Burks, DeAndre Jordan, and Lou Williams all have popped up, especially with names like the Cavaliers and Bulls. Things like that may be part of the reason why Rodney Hood started over Joe Ingles in the nationally televised game against the Knicks last night, and why Ricky Rubio and Joe Johnson were playing key minutes in the forth. Keep an eye out for minutes distributions, especially on the Jazz’s side.
Most Likely Jazz-Killer: Lou Williams
Last time, I picked Lou Williams, and he had a pretty stellar 20 point, 5 assist game, but Austin Rivers led their side with 25. I already wrote a ton about this electrifying player in the intro, so I’ll essentially leave it at this, but we all know the Jazz will take really anybody (except maybe Blake Griffin) making shots over Williams any day of the week.