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Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Clippers: Game Preview

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Protect your home court (advantage)

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

Whomever wins, stays in front.

Sometimes, it’s as simple as that.

If the Utah Jazz lose, they will have an equal amount of wins, but also one more loss than the Los Angeles Clippers. If the Clippers lose, they take one loss more and have won one game less.

So, all to play for then!

Probable Line-Ups:

PG: George Hill - Austin Rivers

SG: Joe Ingles - J.J. Redick

SF: Gordon Hayward - Luc Mbah A Moute

PF: Derrick Favors - Blake Griffin

C: Rudy Gobert - DeAndre Jordan

Marquee Match-Up: Ingles-Redick

Redick is the Clippers main threat from outside (at least in the starting line-up), although don’t sleep on Austin Rivers and Mbah a Moute shooting near 40% from downtown (yup, both of them)! Redick will be the guy being run off screens, getting the double-picks, and getting the hand-offs. So it’s important that you stay with the dude, before the whole defense has to start scrambling and you’re giving up dunks and alley-oops to their athletic big men.

On the other end, it would help if Redick isn’t completely able to rest out. Ingles is not Hood, and there aren’t necessarily plays run for him and he is less of an offensive threat. It seems that against Boston this was a thing, and if Redick can expand all his energy running his routes on offense it’s going to be a long night.

X-Factor: Jamal Crawford

What Joe Johnson has been doing some games for us, Jamal Crawford has been doing some years for the L.A. Clippers. This guy, especially in clutch, just scores. Any shot in crunch time he puts up, I’m counting.

Not only that, he is the scoring punch off the bench, the guy who, when the offense drags, can put up points to make sure they just don’t fall behind too much. He is a playmaker, a scorer, and in clutch he can make sure that the absence of Paul isn’t felt too much.

Prediction: Jazz Win

The Jazz really (no, really) need to start making a stand and show that A) they want and deserve home court advantage in the play-offs and B) that home court advantage would actually matter. Clippers might be the play-off match-up come April, and if you can’t even beat them without Chris Paul in the line-up and whilst playing at altitude then I’m not sure where your confidence of maybe even getting to the WCF is going to come from.