This could be it, my friends. This afternoon the Utah Jazz (51-31, 3-3) will tip off in a Game 7 against the Los Angeles Clippers (51-31, 3-3). The final game of the first round could be the final game of our season. During the regular season the Clippers ran away with a 3-1 season series lead and by that right won the tie-breaker for home court. The team those Clippers saw was a broken one, and LA took away 16 point, 13 point, and 13 points victories. In the playoffs things changed, and these two clubs have fought tooth and nail to get to Game 7. The majority of the games have finished between five points. The largest LA win was 8 points, and the largest Utah win was 7.
So the hilarious thing here would be to expect a blowout in Game 7, right?
LA will still be playing without Blake Griffin (who did not finish Game 3, and missed Game 4, 5, and 6) and Diamond Stone. Utah will once again be without Alec Burks (missed every game, but recently became “injured” after him being out of the rotation was solidified), and Rudy Gobert is probable (who did not finish Game 1, missed Game 2 and 3, played in Game 4 and 5, and didn’t finish Game 6).
The X-Factor seems to this Austin Rivers kid, who is playing some inspired defense and hitting open threes. He can put the Clippers over the top. It’s pretty easy to do right now with the conjugate Jazz shooters missing everything.
Fouls are appreciably equal. Rebounds. Free throws. Assists. These are two very equal teams. ORTG, DRTG, it’s such an equal match right now.
What’s going to win or lose this game is the most overt, obvious thing: making or missing shots. Free throws and open jumpers. LA made theirs in Game 6 to allow for a Game 7 to even exist. Can Utah take control of this game and series?
There are no surprises anymore. It’s just going to come down to execution. (And flops, I just had to get that in there before this game starts, ha ha.)
If Rudy plays he’s going to play to win. Even if he’s playing hurt. And playing hurt is something the Jazz have done all season long. Why would it be any different in the NBA Playoffs.
So it’s simple. Win, or lose. This could be the end of the season for us here at SLC Dunk. It has, as always, been a pleasure to write for all of you.
Prediction: Utah Jazz win.