Saturday night’s NBA action is rounded off by a match-up where the Utah Jazz travel to face the Los Angeles Clippers. This is a tough match-up between two teams currently in the playoff places. The result of this game will be vitally important to both teams, though for different reasons. The Clippers have a 3-0 advantage in the season series and enter Saturday’s contest with the opportunity to sweep the series against the Jazz for the first time in 34 years.
Utah have put together a three-game winning streak with victories over the Oklahoma City Thunder, Minnesota Timberwolves and Golden State Warriors. They asserted particularly strong home wins over fellow playoff teams Golden State and Oklahoma City and look like a roster that possibly on the rise.
Many were surprised when the Jazz didn’t make a move at the trade deadline despite the expiring contracts of big inside players Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson. Still, despite maintaining a strong roster and a recent strong run, Utah hasn’t been as strong on the road registering just a 10-18 mark on the road this season.
They face a Clippers team with an incredible amount of depth led by stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. This is a roster trying to find its place in the Western conference.
LA’s top team right now has been streaky of late. They lost four of five to start February, but then reeled off four straight wins with opponents including the Lakers, Rockets and Knicks. They followed that streak up with a woeful effort against the Spurs on Thursday.
Paul and co will surely see a home game against the Jazz as a good opportunity to make a statement after the disappointing performance against San Antonio. This is a team that wants to believe that it can compete for the NBA championship this Spring. They should be pumped up to play against a Utah team that is a tough line-up to face, especially in the paint.
Betting Preview: Jazz (+9) vs. Clippers
The Clippers do have a legitimate shot at causing havoc in the Western conference, but the Jazz have some urgency with Houston, the Lakers and Dallas all making some serious noise in the West. They have the inside presence to compete against Griffin and Paul, and are rolling with confidence right now. Utah are a well-coached team and will be ready for the Clippers, who can’t be trusted with their recent erratic play.
It’s hard to see LA winning this game by a nine-point margin. In fact, this is a game that the Jazz might just steal.
The Pick: Jazz (+9) (5dimes.eu)