Whomever wins, stays in front.
Sometimes, it’s as simple as that.
So, all to play for then!
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.