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Utah Jazz travel to Los Angeles to face California’s best NBA team

In a period of adjustments, the Jazz will have a progress check against the best team in the league

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Utah Jazz Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

After coming off an “away game” in a Christmas win against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Clippers will return home to Staples Center to play the Utah Jazz. The past two weeks have had their ups and downs for the Clippers. From beating the Lakers, to losing to the Bulls, consistency may not yet be the team’s calling card. However, the Clippers still sit in the third seed, with an MVP candidate on their roster, so the Jazz will need to bring their A-game to leave with a victory.

With the roster adjustments, adding two guards in Jordan Clarkson and Rayjon Tucker, we can expect that there may be some integration pains as they find their place on this team. Clarkson had some solid minutes for the Jazz against the Portland Trailblazers on Thursday—at least until the fourth quarter. Then CJ McCollum was put in against Clarkson and feasted on that matchup. With only a couple days to practice and start learning the Jazz system, Clarkson likely won’t look too different. But his minutes really take the burden off of Donovan, and allow Don to have more energy at the end of games.

Game Info

When: Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019 • 8:30pm MST

Where: Staples center • Los Angeles, California

TV: AT&T Sports Net Rocky Mountain

Radio: 97.5 FM | 1280 AM The Zone

What to watch for:

Battle of the Superstars

The dynamic duo of Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert have proven time and time again that they can put up a fight against any other duo in the league. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are starting to click together in their own right. The Jazz will need a good game from both Donovan and Rudy to overcome the Clippers superstars.

Can the Jazz bench hold on?

While in a period of change, the Jazz bench will need to be able to play with energy and hustle to avoid giving up large runs as the starters sit. The interesting part about our bench is that staggering the starters with bench players has not seemed to alleviate much of the struggles. The drop-off in scoring, defense, and overall familiarity has been difficult to overcome. Adding Clarkson really seemed to help with that issue in the game against Portland through the second and third quarters, which is where the Jazz bench has typically blown leads through the month of December.

This is another reason Mike Conley is so important. Adding him to the staggered rotation may entirely solve any bench issues, as we would have one more starter to take up important minutes. However, Mike is out for tonight, so role players will need to step up and try to find this second unit’s identity.

Mandatory Highlight

Just your daily reminder that Rudy Gobert eats freaking with humans. That is all.

Game Thread Ground Rules

Welcome to the SLC Dunk Game Thread.

Dunkers know how this thing works, but for you lurkers ready to make the jump to Dunker, we have a few guidelines. Remember to follow our community guidelines (no swearing, trolling, excessive use of Jerry Sloan’s name in vain, no personal attacks, no debates about Utah liquor laws, etc.). Remember to have fun. Anyone who dare blasphemes that Tim Duncan was a Power Forward (this means you, Pounding the Rock), Ben Simmons can hit threes, Gordon Hayward should not be booed, Donovan Mitchell is Monta Ellis 2.0, men should never cry, or John Stockton is not the best point guard of all-time will receive an automatic ban. Just kidding. But seriously.