Game one has been in the books for two straight days. It’s time for the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Clippers to finally play again. I don’t think any of us really expected the good guys to win game one, but we had a hope of stealing it. A few heart beats into it the defensive anchor and heart of the team, Rudy Gobert, needed help leaving the game. And with it most of our reasonable and unreasonable hopes for stealing a game.
But the rest of the team rallied together and out worked LAC. They didn’t steal Game 1, with their 97-95 victory. They earned it. They worked hard all game long, dug deep, trusted each other, and earned that victory - regardless of where it was played or what order of games it occurred within.
We got to see resilience and effort win out over star power and popular convention. That may change tonight as the Clippers look to erase their embarrassment from the world. Game one was on ESPN. Tonight’s game will be on TNT. Game one had refs that didn’t screw anyone over. That’s going to be the X, the Y, and the Z factor tonight. Why? Because:
The NBA is making sure LAC doesn’t fly to Utah down 0-2. Also, Dennis Lindsey’s probably going to make that call.
I’m sure he’s going to make the NBA heads #TakeNote of his diligent accounting of how screwed over his team gets - already playing WITHOUT Rudy Gobert. George Hill, Joe Ingles, Boris Diaw, and Derrick Favors had great games in Game 1. Gordon Hayward went mano-a-mano against their best defense and came out ahead. And Joe Johnson won the game.
It’s going to take another huge effort to overcome all of the systematic disadvantages they will be put up against tonight.
Also, the Clippers should probably play with some more fire as well. DeAndre Jordan is probably going to be involved in some potential decapitation attacks early. And there’s no way that Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, and Jamal Crawford shoot 2/12 again from downtown.
It’s going to be hard. But I expect my guys to fight. They will.
Rudy Gobert is out, and so is Clippers bench bigman Diamond Stone. Austin Rivers is also out, and Raul Neto is questionable for tonight. We’ll learn more in the next few hours for sure.
If Neto isn’t on the active roster that still means one more guy has to be in-active with him. In last game it was rookie Joel Bolomboy. With the Jazz down to five bigs (including Joe Johnson) do you think JB gets a J-o-b tonight? We’ll see.
The Marquee Match-up is, unfortunately, going to be George Hill vs. CP3. One that CP3 should win. (Expect flops tonight.)
The X- Factor will be the refs.
And, obviously, the prediction is a Jazz loss. The last time LAC lost GM 1 at home they stormed back to beat GSW by 40. That was a few years ago though. Get ready to see the Jazz possibly shock the world tonight. Again.