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Utah Jazz Downbeat #2078: Happy Birthday Larry H. Miller!

The results of this playoff trip by his team should make him happy!

John Stockton retires Photo By Kent Horner/NBAE via Getty Images

It’s not over until the fat lady sings, but things do not look good for the Los Angeles Clippers right now. For the Utah Jazz the sky appears to be the limit in their future, especially with how their forwards have been playing. Also, remember that today is the LHM Day of Service!

The Utah Jazz beat the Los Angeles Clippers last night. It was the Jazz’ second road win of this series (home court what?), and yet another failure for that team named after an obsolete ship design. Before the game B/R posted this bit of trivia:

It’s now 1-11. The Clippers and their build around Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford and others have been very successful at getting TV ads, being on National TV games, and for . . . not really winning. The smart people over at the Yale Sports Analytics group tweeted this after the game. It represents the Clippers chance of winning Game 5:

I made the snarky observation that the trend could be how the Clippers fans felt from “It’s going to be LobCity, baby” when they got Paul and Griffin was giving interviews . . . all the way through their playoff competitive years . . . to today.

We fail to recognize that THIS is their Golden era. When the Jazz struggled forever and ever until putting a team on the court that could win, the Jazz Golden era wouldn’t have looked that great either. Utah did eventually create a monster on the court that would go to the West finals five times in seven seasons - breaking through to the NBA Finals twice.

That possible future looks unlikely, as LA is now on the precipice of being bounced from the first round again. If they get passed the Jazz they will face the Warriors. Not all franchises have the same arcs. The Clippers fans are good people. After all, they choose to be Clippers fans instead of Lakers or Warriors fans.

It just looks really tough for them right now.

On the other side of the court, the Utah Jazz are now likely to advance to the second round - something very, very few “experts” predicted.

Very few people actually felt like the Jazz could win, but most had this being a longer series. And it’s true, Utah could still LOSE in seven games. That was the prevailing opinion. Of course, most of the SLC Dunkers (contributors and community members) picked UTA in 6. (Majority said UTA in 6 from individuals polled, 52% (249 votes) came in for that out come.)

So #TakeNote of that. Of course, the games still have to be played. But the models now favor Utah - reflecting the reality us Utah fans already existed within.

Read more over at ESPN here.

FiveThirtyEight puts the Jazz in the second round with even higher confidence:

. . . mainly backed by a really significant advantage in Game 6.

Check it all out here, at

But these are models, what do the history books say? According to the researchers over at, things look really good for our guys.

  • Up 3-2, win Game 6: .550
  • Up 3-2, win Game 6 (1st round): .594
  • NBA Only, Up 3-2, win Game 6: .564
  • NBA Only, Up 3-2, win Game 6 (1st round): .627

When you factor in that it’s the road team leading, and heading into Game 6 at home, those numbers become .619 / .615 / .629 / .630. If you factor in the 3-2 advantage for the road team, with the outcomes of WLLWW those percentages to win Game 6 become .700 / .778 / 1.000 / 1.000 -- so it looks good for the Utah Jazz. Furthermore, adds:

The Utah Jazz visited and topped the Los Angeles Clippers 96-pts-92 to take a best-of-7 MLB/NBA/NHL playoff series 1342 lead of 3-games-2. When leading a best-of-7 MLB/NBA/NHL playoff series 3-games-2, the Utah Jazz have a series record of 5-0 and a Game 6 record of 4-1 with an active four-Game 6 winning streak. When trailing a best-of-7 MLB/NBA/NHL playoff series 3-games-2, the Los Angeles Clippers have a series record of 1-4 and a Game 6 record of 2-3. Series 1342 becomes only the third best-of-7 NBA playoff series to follow a WLLWW @ VVHHV win/site order through five games, joining series 592 and series 895. In series 592, the Detroit Pistons followed such a win/site order in the 1991 NBA Quarterfinals en route to a six-game victory over the Boston Celtics. In series 895, the Los Angeles Lakers followed such a win/site order in the 2003 NBA Preliminary round en route to a six-game victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves., 2017

So, the bottom line is that if the Jazz lose Game 6 it would look very bad. Of course, 100% of the pressure is on LAC, and their team where most of their starting line-up are free agents and their coach is on the hot seat. (One of my newest followers on social media is “FireDocRivers”.)

Gordon Hayward. G-Time is turning into Prime-Time in this series. When Rudy went down he stepped up big by hauling in 10 rebounds in Game 1. Throughout the playoffs he has stayed in an aggressive rebounding mode, especially on defense where he has helped Utah achieve a .818 DRB%, which is UP from their regular season values of .789 DRB%. It’s team rebounding, and everyone has helped out - but Hayward is leading the team in defensive rebounds right now, but a healthy margin.

It’s not just a Jazz thing, but the 6’8 forward with alligator arms is 5th in the ENTIRE NBA PLAYOFFS with a .135 TRB%.

For his career Gordon has never averaged more than 5.4 RPG, and in the playoffs this season he’s grabbing 7.0 (and that’s divided by an extra game because he had to leave Game 4 after 9 minutes). We talk about his scoring all the time, and he has really been the guy to get the Jazz a basket when the team has gotten into a rut.

He wasn’t that guy before, but we’re seeing it now.

But the main thing is that we’re seeing Gordon actually play in a game that matters. He has a superior competitive streak, and it’s really coming out now. The play of the series for me was this stupid double technical.

Hayward missed the offensive rebound, tipped the ball out of the hands of Crawford, dove to the floor for the loose ball, and even when tied up by Chris Paul (the President of the Player’s Association, so in a way his own boss) he wouldn’t let go. Winning this ball, not letting Paul have the satisfaction even after the whistle was called and not letting go . . . this was a mental win for Hayward.

He is playing better, because he has something to play for. And this is so much fun to watch. I don’t even know where Hayward ranks on my list of Top Jazz players ever, or even on this team, so I’m not a Hayward Homer at all. But his play on the court during this series is making me change my tune.

This was my favorite Gordon Hayward play of all time. And it’s a huge chance from the double tea-pot guy who let Delonte West digitally penetrate his ear. Regular season Gordon is nothing compared to hungry, aggressive Playoff Gordon. (Btw, nice shove after the play, Coward Paul.)

But it’s not just ME who is saying good things about Hayward and our Jazz. Zach Lowe went on a stream of consciousness today:

Each game Utah plays is another game more people have their eyes on what Quin Snyder and company are doing. And each time that happens, more people realize they should have been gushing about this team earlier in the season instead of, I dunno, wasting their time writing about the Thunder or whatever.

Happy Birthday Larry H. Miller! I hope your team is making you smile wherever you are!

I try not to have many regrets in life. One of them is that I never got to meet LHM in person. At the very least I can still adore what he has done for the team I love from afar.

Important Poll:

With about 12 hours left we see that Joe Johnson, by popular vote (92% at the time of this writing), is the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. The past five games seem to confirm that popular opinion.

Want more Joe? We got you:

We love you Joe!