After playing the first two games in Utah, the second-round series between the Jazz and Clippers now shifts to Los Angeles, where the Clippers will look to bounce back after dropping both Games 1 and 2. Down 2-0, the odds aren’t on the Clippers’ side. In NBA history, there’s been 430 instances where a team has taken a 2-0 lead in a series, and only 28 times has that team failed to go on to win the series. However, the Clippers can take some solace in the fact that they’ve been in this position before in this postseason already. L.A. lost the first two games to the Dallas Mavericks in the first round, but they then went on to win the series in seven games. So, at least they know that they can do it. Making such a comeback is a tough task, but not an impossible one.
If the Clippers do want to climb back into the series, though, they’re going to have to find a way to limit Donovan Mitchell’s production. Mitchell has scored 82 total points over the first two games while shooting over 50 percent from the floor, and his offensive output has been a main difference-maker in the series.
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Here’s everything you need to know about Game 3 between the Jazz and Clippers.
(1) Utah Jazz vs. (4) Los Angeles ClippersDate: Saturday, June 12 | Time: 8:30 p.m. ETLocation: Staples Center — Los Angeles, California TV: ABC | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free) Odds: LAC: -185; UTA: +165 | O/U: 223.5 (via William Hill Sportsbook)
Featured Game | Los Angeles Clippers vs. Utah Jazz
Jazz: Mike Conley’s health remains a storyline to keep an eye on for Utah. Conley hurt his hamstring in the last game of Utah’s first-round series with Memphis, and has also missed Games 1 and 2 against the Clippers as a result. His status for the rest of the series is not known at this point, but the Jazz have to hope that he’ll be able to go. Mitchell has carried the scoring load for Utah so far, but he’s going to need more help at some point, especially if the Clippers focus even more defensive attention on him. That’s where Conley comes in. He averaged 16.2 points and six assists per game during the regular season, and he’s a guy who’s capable of creating offense for himself and others. Utah was able to win the first two games without Conley, but it’s a more complete team with him out on the floor, and his potential absence could become more of a factor as the series goes on.
Clippers: The Clippers have two of the best perimeter defenders in the entire NBA in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, but so far as a team they haven’t been able to slow down Donovan Mitchell. It was a similar story in the first round when Luka Doncic had a field day against L.A.’s defense, and his offensive output alone almost cost the Clippers the series. If they don’t start to do a better job of defending Mitchell, his production likely will cost the Clippers the series. Leonard and George need to start taking the Mitchell matchup personally, because if he continues to average over 40 points a game on over 50 percent shooting from the floor, this series could be over quickly.
While teams have come back to win a series after being down 2-0, no team has ever done so after being down 3-0. The Clippers should be well aware of this, and in turn they should come out with the appropriate energy for Game 3, which is basically a must-win game for them at this point. Plus, they’ll be at home, which could provide them with a boost. The duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will have to step up their defense on Mitchell, and if they’re able to limit his production at all they should be in good shape, especially since Utah won the first two games by a combined nine points. Pick: Clippers -4.5