The Los Angeles Clippers had Game One in control at halftime, but they fell asleep and let the Utah Jazz back into the contest on Tuesday night.
It was an invitation the Jazz took with both hands as they established a big lead before holding on grimly in the dying stages of the fourth.
There was little between the teams and that’s reflected in the online betting markets for Thursday’s Game Two. Utah is the -150 favorite, but with Mike Conley’s availability still up in the air, value could be with the visitors.
It’s a 48-Minute Game
Can someone please tell the Clippers that holding a sizable halftime lead doesn’t automatically ensure the win?
We were disappointed by the third-quarter effort produced by the Clippers, who were playing excellent team basketball up until that point. They came out flat and superstars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George didn’t appear to be leading the unit.
Leonard has never been an overly vocal leader, and although his numbers improved in the fourth quarter, he was kept quiet. We don’t expect the two-time NBA champion to stay down for very long and he should have a renewed focus.
“I think we had a pretty good rhythm in the first half,” Leonard told Sports Illustrated. “I think we came in that third quarter pretty flat, but they are a good defensive team. They played hard tonight, they fought the whole game and they got the win.”
The Los Angeles Clippers have Kawhi and Paul George on the floor down by 1 and Nicolas Batum shoots the last shot?
Nicolas Batum??? pic.twitter.com/9Cjcc0AKc0
— D. Layne (@DLayne6) June 3, 2021
What we did like was the way the Clippers fought back in the concluding stages. The game looked out of their control, but late buckets bridged the gap and gave Los Angeles a chance to force overtime. However, the ball ended up in the wrong hands and the main sharpshooters were out of the play on the final possession.
NBA betting markets have the Clippers as +130 underdogs. It’s a value price given how close they came to pulling off an upset on Tuesday.
More of Same for Jazz
Despite not having point guard Conley, the Utah Jazz were impressive. They were 13 points down at the half, but that deficit was quickly erased.
Donovan Mitchell was incredible and closed out the game with 45 points. It was one of his finest playoff performances and the young superstar continues to amaze.
He was the primary offensive threat for the Jazz and we’re expecting more of the same throughout the series. Mitchell is a unique talent and he was making three-pointers from Steph Curry land, which isn’t easy.
Donovan Mitchell (3) has more 45-point playoff games than:
• Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (2)
• Shaquille O’Neal (2)
• Charles Barkley (2)
• Damian Lillard (2)
• James Harden (1)
• Stephen Curry (1) pic.twitter.com/OyNIk7B7to
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 9, 2021
He had help from Bojan Bogdanovic, who chimed in with 18 points. Jordan Clarkson also had 18 points off the bench and he made some timely shots during the impressive third-quarter comeback.
Utah has lost just five games at home, which is a statistic Clippers’ backers could choose to ignore. It’s an overwhelmingly positive betting trend for the Jazz, but they are still vulnerable without Conley on the floor.
His status is still unknown for Game Two, and as the series continues, we think the Jazz will need him. We expect the Clippers to make adjustments defending Mitchell, which means the Jazz supporting cast needs to be at full strength.
Clippers vs Jazz Betting Trends
The Clippers are 1-4 against the spread in the last five meetings and 8-21-1 in the last 30 meetings in Utah.
Most of the positive betting trends favor the Jazz, who are 5-0 ATS in the last five games and 5-0 in their last five as a favorite.
Playing at home is a big advantage for the Jazz, who are 13-4 ATS in their last 17 home games vs a team with a winning record. They are also 6-2 as a home favorite, so covering spreads at Vivint Smart Home Arena isn’t difficult.
Los Angeles is 6-2 ATS in its last eight games playing on one day’s rest and 5-1 in its last six Thursday games. However, the Clippers are now 0-4 ATS in their last four conference semifinal games.
Clippers vs Jazz Pick
We can’t pass up on the +130 odds for the Clippers. They looked good for the most part in Game One and we’re expecting a more focused performance.
It’s time for Leonard to become a little more selfish. He is capable of taking over the Clippers offense and we think they need it. They need a leader and going 0-2 down isn’t an ideal situation.
There is much more improvement to come for the Clippers, who we expect to square the series at 1-1.