Somehow despite having the NBA’s least improved player, the Utah Jazz are winners of 5 out of their last 6 games and riding a 4 game winning streak. Donovan Mitchell’s play since being inserted at point guard have been spectacular as he and Rudy Gobert carry this point guard injury-plagued team. They will face a tall order as they meet up against one of the league’s biggest surprise teams, the Los Angeles Clippers (24-19).
The Los Angeles Clippers got out to a hot start being as many as 8 games over .500 for the season. However, they are 5-5 over their last 10 and have lost their last three games. Their star player, and apple of Dennis Lindsey’s eye, Tobias Harris has been an absolute beast this year. The Clippers trade with Detroit that sent Griffin packing has been a spectacular haul while Harris averages 20.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists on 50/44/88 shooting. Harris has become the small ball four that both Orlando and Detroit hoped he could be except now he’s in Los Angeles.
Both he and Danilo Gallinari have really put this Clippers team on their backs and have been spectacular. That will be a tall order for Utah’s Jae Crowder and Derrick Favors as they will adjust from the ultra physical Detroit Frontcourt to more adept playmaking Harris and Gallinari.
Rudy Gobert will be challenged as well by sixth man of the year candidate Montrezl Harrell. He has looked like this year’s Clint Capela as he has locked down the paint and averaged 16 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in only 25.5 minutes per game. The only limit to his abilities is Doc Rivers unfathomable love of starting Marcin Gortat over him.
If Utah wins tonight’s game they would rise to 8th in the West while only being 0.5 games behind the Clippers and Spurs. Meanwhile, the Clippers would drop to 7th in the West. Right now there’s only 3 games separating 3rd place in the West and 9th. There’s only 4.5 games separating 3rd place and 12th.
When: 8:00 MT • Wednesday, January 16th, 2019
Where: Staples Center · Los Angeles, CA
TV: AT&T SportsNet / NBA League Pass
Radio: 1280 AM/97.5 FM
Utah Jazz (24-21)
Ricky Rubio - Hamstring - OUT
Dante Exum - Ankle - OUT
Thabo Sefolosha - Hamstring - OUT
Tony Bradley - Knee - OUT
Raul Neto - Groin - OUT
Los Angeles Clippers (24-19)
Luc Mbah a Moute - Knee - OUT
What to watch for
The Jazz’s best 2-man lineups over the past 6 games both include Donovan Mitchell
Donovan Mitchell will be required to put in double time in Los Angeles and avoid the “Los Angeles flu.” Hopefully, #Nightlife will not remain undefeated. If Donovan Mitchell continues his stellar play, we’ll have to send yet another thank you card to the heckling fan in Detroit.
Over Mitchell’s last 6 games he has averaged 30 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.3 steals on 47/46/81 shooting. More importantly, when Gobert and Mitchell share the floor over that stretch they hold Utah’s best Net Rating at a +14.7 with an offensive rating of 109.3 and defensive rating of 94.6. Utah’s second best Net Rating? Joe Ingles and Donovan Mitchell at +13.6.
Joe Ingles, the trash talker of our time
While Rudy Gobert continues to be terrible underappreciated for what he is doing for Utah this season and deserves to be in the MVP discussion but won’t because PPG twitter continues to be a thing, Joe Ingles has gained some notoriety lately for his beautiful trash talking ways. Even better, he has been backing it up. Over the last 6 games Joe Ingles has averaged 12.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5.0 assists on 40/40/81 splits. More importantly, he has given us wonderful highlights like this:
Nets fans trolled the Celtics, Donovan was amazing, Gobert posterized Drummond, and the Jazz won their 4th straight.— SLC Dunk (@slcdunk) January 15, 2019
Good night, y'all. pic.twitter.com/n0LWw9T094