No loss tastes good. I tried to have fair expectations for this Jazz team coming in to last night’s game, but couldn’t help myself. I really wanted that win. I was still high from one of the all-time best Jazz games in Game 1. Unfortunately the loss of the DPOY caught up to Utah in this one. That being said, the Jazz took care of business by getting the split in the first 2 games. Home court advantaged was flipped after 1 game, and now the Homer Fans of Utah get to influence the next 2 games. Being 1-1 is a good position to be in, but how good?
Historically, when a series starts off 1-1 it stays pretty tight throughout. The home team (Clippers) still wins the series 60% (117-77) of the time. That’s in all rounds of the NBA playoffs though. Only considering the first round brings this number down to 57.5% (23-17). (stats according to whowins.com) Traditionally, the Clippers should still be the favorites to advance to the 2nd round (where Clippers gonna Clip and go home anyways). The renowned FiveThirtyEight, however, gives the Utah Jazz a 54% chance of moving on and ending the Clippers season one round earlier than usual. Why is that?
Look no further than last night’s loss: Gordon Hayward went 5-15, George Hill 5-12, and Joe Johnson 6-15. As a team the Jazz shot only 45% from the field, were -8 on the boards (including giving up 8 offensive rebounds), and gave up 60 points in the paint. And they were still in the game until the final minute. All night I was waiting for the Clippers to go on a run and put the game out of reach, but they couldn’t do it. Sure it was a wire-to-wire win, but this was a must-win home game against a team without it’s most important player. And Utah was still able to keep it a 2 possession game right up until the end.
Sadly Rudy Gobert is currently the stifled tower, and has to get back for the Jazz to win this series. If he can’t go in Game 3 I expect Quin Snyder to make some adjustments pull out a win in front of a raucous Homer crowd. In fact, the home team is 26-14 in Game 3 after getting a split on the road in the first round. But I just can’t predict the Jazz winning the series outright without him, even with a 2-1 series lead. 60 points in the paint last night, 34 second chance points in 2 games, 72.1 FG% within 5 feet, 16 offensive rebounds in 2 games. All would be dramatically different with Gobert:
For those who aren't aware just how good (and important) Rudy Gobert is, this is what the Jazz will have to replace.— Rob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) April 16, 2017
No big deal. pic.twitter.com/95rBrSAtnp
Fortunately for us, Rudy is determined to get back. I’m confident he will get back. And I see the Jazz winning their first playoff series in a long time. How long you ask?
2016 2017  Utah Jazz @  Los Angeles Clippers: Updated 1st Round Prediction
This poll is closed
LAC in 7
LAC in 6
LAC in 5
LAC in 4
UTA in 4
UTA in 5
UTA in 6
UTA in 7