Home / NEWS / We looked at all the Utah Jazz-Los Angeles Clippers games this season. Here’s what we learned

We looked at all the Utah Jazz-Los Angeles Clippers games this season. Here’s what we learned

It’s playoff time, which means the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Clippers are now focused solely on trying to beat one another in a best-of-seven series. Players will have the chance to get into a rhythm facing the same opponent each game, while coaches will be tasked with making adjustments to maximize their team’s ability to win.

Already this season, the Jazz and Clippers have faced each other four times, with Utah winning once and Los Angeles taking three games. What can be learned from the regular season series that might inform this postseason series? Such a question is challenging to answer given a variety of factors, but here we’ll review the four games and discuss what those outcomes might mean for this series.

October 30, 2016, Staples Center, Los Angeles: Clippers 88, Jazz 75

Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin is defended by Utah Jazz’s Joe Ingles during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016, in Los Angeles | Jae C. Hong, Associated Press

The two teams met during the first week of the regular season, and the Clippers won an ugly contest. Playing without Gordon Hayward, Utah struggled to score and shot less than 40 percent from the field. Los Angeles shot just 41 percent.

George Hill scored 18 points, but Dante Exum was the only other Jazzman to finish in double figures, having scored 10. As a sign of things to come in later matchups, Austin Rivers played well for the Clippers, scoring 19 points off the bench. Blake Griffin had 18 and Jamal Crawford added 12.

Los Angeles outrebounded Utah 58-44 and won the turnover battle 18-13.

What can be learned?

Big news flash: Hayward is very important to the Jazz’s success. A little less obvious, Rivers is very good against Utah, and he could miss at least part of the first round with a strained hamstring.

On the rebounding front, the Jazz have been one of the best teams in the league in rebound differential this season but will be going up against two good rebounders in DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin. It will be interesting to watch the rebounding battle depending on how Utah head coach Quin Snyder decides to stagger Rudy Gobert, Derrick Favors and small ball power forward Joe Johnson.

February 13, 2017, Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City: Clippers 88, Jazz 72

Utah Jazz guard George Hill (3) dribbles the ball during a basketball game against the LA Clippers at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Monday, Feb. 13, 2017. | Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

It was 3.5 months before the two teams met again, this time in the Beehive State. Utah lost by 16, but it wasn’t that close, as it had just 49 points after three quarters and trailed by 27.

Derrick Favors led the Jazz with 13 points, while Dante Exum and Rudy Gobert had 10 apiece. Gordon Hayward scored just seven. Blake Griffin scored 26 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for Los Angeles on a night it was without Chris Paul.

What can be learned?

In the first two games of the season series, the Jazz shot poorly. Some of that surely had to do with the Clippers’ defense, although at some point basketball does come down to making or missing shots. Utah has been on the extreme end of both of these spectrums at times this season and will struggle against a very good Los Angeles offense that is clicking especially well right now if it has too many off nights.

March 13, 2017, Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City: Jazz 114, Clippers 108

Utah Jazz guard Dante Exum (11) tries to shoot over LA Clippers guard Raymond Felton (2) during a basketball game at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Monday, March 13, 2017. | Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Exactly one month after an awful offensive performance, Utah was wonderful on that end of the floor, connecting on 14 of 21 3-pointers, including 10 in a row in the third quarter en route to the win.

Hayward scored 27 points, while Hill, Joe Ingles, Joe Johnson and Rudy Gobert also finished in double figures. Chris Paul went off for 33 points to lead Los Angeles and four others wound up in double figures, but Griffin was held to just eight points.

What can be learned?

The Jazz offense was humming on this night, which can be seen as both a positive and a negative moving forward. On the bright side, Utah has shown the ability to be a good 3-point shooting team, especially lately. The offense is particularly good when Johnson plays alongside one traditional big, and that’s a style that other teams have found to be effective during the playoffs in recent years.

On the downside, the Jazz played incredibly well and won this game by just six points. The Clippers just have so many players who can make shots, which is challenging for even a team that is as good defensively as Utah.

March 25, 2017, Staples Center, Los Angeles: Clippers 108, Jazz 95

Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, left, celebrates after dunking the ball while Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward, right, looks back at him during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, March 25, 2017, in Los Angeles. | Danny Moloshok, Associated Press

In the teams’ final matchup of the regular season, Utah came out slow and then rallied before faltering in the fourth quarter.

Gobert scored 26 points to go along with 14 rebounds and two blocks. Johnson had 17 and Hayward finished with 13. Crawford scored 28 to lead Los Angeles, including 17 in the fourth quarter.

The Clippers finished +12 from the free-throw line.

What can be learned?

In a crucial game that was in the midst of a tough stretch for the Jazz, the team didn’t show the heart it needed to, which Gobert now infamously pointed out after the game. Despite the fact Utah has a few veterans, Los Angeles has more playoff experience as a group, and it stands to reason that could wind up being a factor during the upcoming series.


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