The LA Clippers will have the opportunity to advance to the Western Conference Finals on Friday when they host the Utah Jazz in front of a packed Staples Center. Tyronn Lue's men have done well to win three games in a row to take a 3-2 lead in the series, but it would be foolish to count out the Jazz already.
Fixture: Utah Jazz vs LA Clippers | Game 6, 2021 NBA Playoffs
Date & Time: Friday, June 18th, 10 PM ET (Saturday, 7:30 AM IST)
Venue: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Utah Jazz Preview
The Utah Jazz's dependence on the three-point shot was abundantly clear in Game 5 against the LA Clippers. Their offense was fueled by the 17 treys they drained from downtown in the first half, but they completely fell apart after the break, going just 3-of-24 from deep.
The Utah Jazz are also feeling the impact of injuries. Donovan Mitchell lacked his usual explosiveness on Wednesday and admitted that he was feeling some pain in his right ankle. Mike Conley has missed all five matchups in this series due to a hamstring injury, but he may feature in Game 6 given the do-or-die situation that the Jazz are in.
Bojan Bogdanovic's shooting in Game 5 was a huge positive for the Utah Jazz. Bogdanovic torched the LA Clippers from range in the first quarter, hitting each of his first six attempts from distance. The Serbian finished with a team-high 32 points in that matchup.
Key Player - Donovan Mitchell
Whether he's fully fit or not, the fate of the Utah Jazz will rest largely on the shoulders of Donovan Mitchell. No other player on the Jazz roster has the explosiveness to take over proceedings entirely in the clutch. Despite struggling in Game 5, Mitchell managed to score 11 points in the fourth quarter. He leads both teams in scoring in the series, averaging 34 points, 4.6 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game.
Utah Jazz Predicted Lineup
G Mike Conley, G Donovan Mitchell, F Bojan Bogdanovic, F Royce O'Neale, C Rudy Gobert
LA Clippers Preview
The LA Clippers were given little chance after news of Kawhi Leonard's knee injury broke ahead of Game 5. But Tyronn Lue's men stuck together and put up a complete team effort to pick up an important road win against the Utah Jazz.
Reggie Jackson was among the more impressive performers on Wednesday. Jackson had managed just four points in the prior matchup and had only racked up 10 points through three quarters in Game 5. But he turned up big for the LA Clippers down the stretch, scoring an additional 12 points in the fourth to close out the game.
Marcus Morris has also found good form after struggling through the first three matchups of the series. Morris has scored 24 and 25 points in Games 4 and 5 respectively. His hard-nosed defense also comes in handy for the LA Clippers while protecting the paint.
Key Player - Paul George
Paul George exploded for 37 points, 16 rebounds and five assists in Game 5. In Leonard's absence, George needs to lead the charge on offense, set the tone defensively and even run the point for the LA Clippers at times, all of which he did on Wednesday. PG13 has scored over 30 points in three straight games against the Utah Jazz and another such performance could help his side clinch the series.
LA Clippers Predicted Lineup
G Reggie Jackson, G Paul George, F Terance Mann, F Marcus Morris Sr., C Nicolas Batum
Jazz vs Clippers Match Prediction
The LA Clippers have been in control of proceedings in this series since the opening tip of Game 3 and they don't seem in the mood to slow down. Other role players have stepped up in the absence of Kawhi Leonard and Serge Ibaka. Ty Lue has also been spot-on with his in-game adjustments.
The Utah Jazz haven't been bad at all, but their opponents have been one step ahead of late. Donovan Mitchell is their only player who's been able to penetrate the paint effectively. With Mitchell playing through his ankle pain, shooting a lot of three-pointers has been the Jazz's primary offensive strategy. The high volume of shots doesn't necessarily lead to results, as we witnessed in Game 5.
There's no doubt that the LA Clippers and Utah Jazz will play out a barnburner of a game, but Paul George and co. are the favorites to win as things stand.
Where to watch Jazz vs Clippers?
National telecast of this matchup will be available on ESPN in the United States. Fans in India can catch the game on Star Sports. You can also live stream the same on NBA League Pass.