By Dan Leach
Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Clippers, Saturday, April 15, 10:30 p.,. TV: ESPN
Current America’s Bookie’s Line: CLIPPERS (-5), Total: 200
The Clips have been hot — blazing hot — as of late and they enter the playoffs thinking “title,” not just a couple of series wins. They get a very gritty, but defensive-minded Jazz team could give LA’s high-powered offense some fits in what should be a very entertaining first round series.
Since Chris Paul returned from injury, the Clippers have played some of the NBA’s best basketball and will look to put an early stamp on this series by winning the first two games at Staples Center.
Utah is led by the inside-outside attack of Rudy Gobert and Gordon Hayward which ending the season in sizzling fashion, winning seven of their last 10 games. The big question is: Can the Jazz and that top-level defense slow down LA enough to even make this a series?
I believe they can, but that won’t happen until Utah gets back home as the Clips have been a heck of a home team in the last part of the season, blowing teams out most of the time.
Look for LA to lead from start to finish in this one, but I do find it curious this is the lowest point spread of the opening day of the playoffs. The Clips will be ready and likely will be up by double digits before the late-arriving Staples crowd is in its seats.
Gobert and the Jazz will have their moments, but in the end it will be too much Paul, Griffin and Jordan in Game 1. Look for an easy cover in this one on Saturday night.
DTM’s pick: (LA -5)