Am I the only one around here who still thinks it’s kind of weird that the Los Angeles Lakers, not the Los Angeles Clippers, are the punchline of NBA jokes in L.A.? I guess the trauma from watching the 2008-09 and 2009-10 Utah Jazz get swept by the Lakers hasn’t worn off yet.
I mean, the Clips were once so bad that The Onion, America’s Finest News Source, churned out this gem:
But that was years ago, and now the Clippers are good. Their record isn’t terribly impressive as of late, as they’ve gone 5-5 in their last 10 games, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Here’s what happened:
Wins: (Most recent to least recent)
Losses: (Most recent to least recent)
They’ve had two good wins, (Memphis, Boston) two decent wins, (Chicago, Charlotte) and one “meh” win (Philadelphia). They’ve only had one really bad loss, which came against Minnesota. However, any of the teams they’ve lost to over the past 10 games can beat any team on any given night.
The Utah Jazz have been playing remarkably well in their last 10, going 7-3. They beat the teams they were supposed to beat (except the Timberwolves) and lost to the teams they were supposed to lose to. This current stretch, which started on Saturday against the Oklahoma City Thunder, is full of playoff teams. We’ll get to see what this team is really made of, especially considering the increasingly fragile health of Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert (who is listed as questionable for tonight as of now) and George Hill. It will be interesting to see what Quin Snyder has cooked up as far as rotations go.
Rudy Gobert vs. Everyone
Seriously, Gordon Hayward may be the most talented player, but the Stifle Tower is the MVP. When he is in the paint, teams settle for contested looks and outside looks. If he can stay in the game, the Jazz have a shot to win.
Dante Exum vs. Chris Paul
Hey, remember how Dante did a thing the other night?
Without George Hill, the Jazz are going to need him to do that again. And again. And again. The refs seem to hate Dante, (did he make one too many Tim Donaghy jokes on Twitter or something?) so the key tonight is somehow staying out of foul trouble while guarding a guy who flops harder than the most unabashed soccer player.
I would be surprised if the Jazz win this one. Vegas has them as the favorite, but I have to go with my gut here. Without George Hill our team struggles. Jazz 95 Clippers 107.
Oh, one more thing: This may be in the Downbeat, but I’ll include it here too. This article by Marc J. Spears was a fantastic read about how black Utah Jazz players, past and present, feel about Salt Lake City.
Rudy Gobert IS going to PLAY— David Locke (@Lockedonsports) March 13, 2017
So, Favors is still out, but Gobert and Hill will play. This increases our chances of winning.
GO JAZZ GO!