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Utah Jazz face LA Clippers in a game that technically has to happen

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Where the seeding is made up and the points don’t matter.

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz (50-31) play the Los Angeles Clippers (47-34) tonight in the Staples Center, going back there after unfortunately dropping that game against the Lakers. The Jazz won their final home game of the season against the Denver Nuggets, shutting out Jokic, who went 2p/5r/2a on Donovan Mitchell’s 46p/7r/4a, Rudy Gobert’s 20p/10r, and Joe Ingles’ 10p/6r/13a.

As of last night, with the Rockets losing a close battle against the Thunder off of a crazy Paul George game winner, and the Trail Blazers pulling it out late against the Lakers off of Moe Harkless of all people hitting the clutch corner 3, the Jazz are locked into the 5th seed with effectively no control over their playoff opponent. The Jazz will play either the Blazers or the Houston Rockets (yikes). The Blazers and Nuggets control their destiny: as the Rockets have finished playing all of their regular season games, if Denver and Portland both win their games against the Wolves and Kings respectively, which is the most likely outcome, the Jazz will face the Rockets. In any other scenario, the Jazz will face Portland. The best part of this? All three games are occurring at 8:30 PM MST today. It’s going down to the wire, folks!

The Jazz’s game against the Clippers matters a lot too, for the Clippers. Only with a win will they end up outside of the 8th seed, and even then it’s possible if the Spurs beat the Mavericks (likely) and the Thunder beat the Bucks (also likely, as the Bucks have the first seed locked up) that the Clippers end up in 8th anyway. Both of those games are on the 6PM MST slot, so it’s possible that the Jazz-Clippers game doesn’t even matter and it turns into a bit of a flub game. For what it’s worth, the Clippers are on a 3-game loss streak (vs. the Rockets, Lakers, and Warriors) that put them in this position, with top players Danilo Gallinari, JaMychal Green, and Patrick Beverley all sidelined, but all will be back for this end-of-season matchup.


Game Info

When: Wednesday, Apr. 10, 2019 • 8:30 PM MT

Where: Staples Center • Los Angeles, CA

TV: AT&T Sports Net - Rocky Mountain, Fox Sports Pacific Time

Radio: 97.5 FM | 1280 AM The Zone, AM 570 LA Sports

Injuries:

Utah Jazz:

Dante Exum — Right Knee — OUT indefinitely

Ricky Rubio — Left Quadriceps — Day-to-day

Kyle Korver — Knee — Day-to-day

Raul Neto — Ankle — Day-to-day

Los Angeles Clippers:

None. !!?


What to watch for

Joe Ingles

With the continued issues with point guard health on the Utah Jazz roster, Joe Ingles has been orchestrating most of the Jazz offense, being in the top-ten players in assists per game since the All-Star break, with 7.7 per game. This was capped off by a 13 assist night last night. Look for him to pick apart the team that cut him from the team five years ago.

Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Los Angeles Clippers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The league’s bench 1-2 punch has been put back in their regular roles with the return of Green, Gallo, and PBev. Both are being heavily considered for sixth man of the year awards. The strength of this Clippers team has been the ability for the starters to mostly keep up with other teams’ starting 5s, but for Lou Will and Trez to flat out destroy opposing benches. The Jazz run a similar scheme, with Derrick Favors back in the fold, and with him back, look for some fun battles between both the starting and bench squads of both teams.