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Home Cooking on the Menu for Jazz

The Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers square off in a pivotal Game Five at Vivint Smart Home Arena on Wednesday where the winner moves within a game of reaching the Western Conference finals.

Utah won the first two games at home before the Clippers returned fire. It shouldn’t cause too much concern for the Jazz, which lost just five games at home during the regular season.

Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz scores a basket against Paul George of the Los Angeles Clippers
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images/AFP

However, Los Angeles has its confidence levels soaring and it’s being respected at the online sportsbook. Utah is the favorite, but money is coming for the visitors.

Jazz Calling For Conley

It looked as though the Utah Jazz didn’t need Mike Conley in the first two games. However, there is only so much Donovan Mitchell can do before he gets tired.

They are missing Conley’s experience and scoring ability, especially in the two losses in Los Angeles. Teammate Bojan Bogdanovic would love to have the leader back for Game Five.

“You don’t even understand what he means for our team, we are missing him big-time,” Bojan Bogdanovic told The Salt Lake Tribune. “We showed in the first two games that we can play against them and we can beat them. We played 82 games for a reason. We have home-court advantage, and we need to take advantage of that.”

One concern is the margin of their home wins against Los Angeles. Game One was a three-point win and Game Two was decided by six points. The Clippers have grown in confidence, so Utah needs to lift to establish an advantage.

Donovan Mitchell had another big scoring night on Monday. He scored 37 points but shot only 9-for-26. Most of his damage was done at the free-throw line where he went 13-15, so he was aggressive.

It was another disappointing effort for Jordan Clarkson, who hasn’t found his usual spark off the bench on the road. He went 3-for-12 and scored just eight points in 30 minutes. The Sixth Man of the Year will need to find his mojo to give the second unit a boost.

Leonard and George Heating Up

It was only a matter of time before Kawhi Leonard and Paul George got hot. They have enjoyed playing in front of a home crowd and they were consistently good in Game Four.

The 118-104 victory was mostly due to the duo scoring 31 points a piece. Despite an injury scare, Leonard powered his way to a 9-19 night where he made timely buckets throughout the contest.

He’s still not being as aggressive as he could be, but the Clippers like to share the ball and it has worked recently. Marcus Morris Sr. had 24 points, so he contributed nicely and that’s all the Clippers need.

They’re always going to get solid scoring performances from the two All-Stars, so if another player can score over 20 points, they’re tough to beat. Even Nicholas Batum, who scored only seven points, had a positive impact with three steals and a blocked shot.

The Clippers are underdogs to steal a win on the road, but they can’t be discounted simply based on geography.

The Clippers have had a tough time historically winning in Utah. They are 8-22-1 against the spread in the last 31 meetings in Utah and 5-11 ATS in the last 16 meetings overall.

They are 8-3 ATS in the last 11 games playing on 1 days’ rest and 5-2 in their last seven when allowing 100 points or more in the previous game. However, most of the positive betting trends side with Utah.

It’s 6-0 ATS in the last six games as a favorite and 4-0 as a home favorite. The Jazz have no negative betting trends and have a clear statistical edge playing at home.

Under is 4-1 in the last five meetings in Utah and 18-8-1 in the Clippers last 27 overall.

Pick

Home-court advantage is huge for the Jazz and we’re banking on them to get back in front in the series.

Although he would love help from Conley, Mitchell is rising to the occasion and scoring at a high level. He will need to continue scoring 30+ points to give the Jazz a chance, but we believe in the talented star.

It is scary backing against a hot Clippers outfit, but they’re a different team on the road. They’re not nearly as good and the Jazz are the best home team, so it’s a logical pick.

If Conley suits up, expect NBA betting lines to move considerably.

Pick: Utah Jazz -2½ (-110)

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