Utah (44-28) at LA Clippers (43-30)
When: Saturday, March 25th 2017
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Time: 3:35 ET | TV: ROOT Utah, Prime Ticket
The battle for the seeding in the Western Conference could come down to the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers and who will grab homecourt in the first round series. These teams meet in a pivotal matchup on Saturday afternoon at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Utah center Rudy Gobert scored a career-high 35 points and collected 13 rebounds as the Jazz posted a 108-101 victory over the New York Knicks on Wednesday to snap a three-game losing streak and keep Utah 1.5 games in front of the Clippers. Gobert is averaging just 9.7 points in three games against Los Angeles this season but has grabbed 11 rebounds per outing. Gobert, who is known for his defense and rebounding, caught fire on the offensive side against New York by making 13-of-14 shots during his career-best effort. All-Star small forward Gordon Hayward scored 19 points on just 6-of-17 shooting against the Knicks after recording a career-best 38 points two nights earlier against the Indiana Pacers. Utah will play sub-.500 teams New Orleans and Sacramento next.
The Clippers missed a chance to get even closer to Utah on Thursday, but suffered a 97-95 road loss against the Dallas Mavericks. Shooting guard J.J. Redick scored only nine points on 2-of-9 shooting against Dallas after averaging 19 points on 25-of-41 shooting over the previous four games. Los Angeles wraps up the regular season by playing seven of nine games at home so this meeting with the Jazz is key to bolstering it’s chances of landing the No. 4 seed. The schedule includes several games against light competition, including two home games against the Sacramento Kings, one against the Los Angeles Lakers and a road matchup against the Phoenix Suns. Center DeAndre Jordan has recorded five consecutive double-doubles after having 14 points and 18 rebounds against the Mavericks. The Clippers are 2-1 against the Jazz this season and won 17 of the past 19 meetings.
I like the Jazz defense to slow down the 7th-highest scoring offense in Los Angeles tonight. The Clippers have covered the spread just twice in their last eight home games and a Noon local tipoff is not ideal to get an offense going. I’ll take the points in what I expect to be a low-scoring contest.
Pick: Jazz +4
HEAD TO HEAD
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