With their backs against the wall in Game 3, the Los Angeles Clippers did exactly what they needed to do. They found their offensive stride and scored 132 points in a blowout win over the Utah Jazz. Now the Clippers have a chance to tie the series on Monday night and send it back to Salt Lake City as a best-of-three.
Los Angeles is favored to do so, as BetUS Sportsbook shows the line at Clippers -5 with a total of 223.5. There are some books in the market still holding on to -4.5 and some extra juice on the host squad, but most of the market is up to 5, which suggests that the influential money is on the Los Angeles side.
Donovan Mitchell had another strong game for Utah in the 132-106 loss with 30 points, but his friends didn’t really come along for the ride. It was a horrible shooting night for Bojan Bogdanovic and Jordan Clarkson wasn’t as effective with the basketball as he had been in the previous two games. It was nice to see more offensive punch from Joe Ingles, but the go-to secondary scorers did not have efficient nights.
On the plus side, a blowout loss isn’t the worst thing in the NBA Playoffs. Mitchell was limited to 32:20 on the floor and got to have some time off of his feet in the fourth quarter, a period that the Clippers won 38-23 as the Jazz emptied the bench and played out the string.
The emotional and physical strain put on players during the playoffs takes a toll, but being able to regroup and refresh after a lopsided loss can sometimes be a positive for the long-term.
Utah had a miserable day on two-point shots. You rarely see a team’s 3P% higher than its FG%, but that was the case for the Jazz, who shot 43.2% from three, but just 42.9% for the game. They were 17-of-40 on two-point shots in the contest. The Clippers finally locked down defensively after Utah got a lot of clean looks in the two home games.
For the series now, Utah is just shy of 46% from the floor and just over 42% from three. Utah only has 48 assists against 34 turnovers in this series. Adjustments need to be made for Game 4.
Los Angeles Clippers
Paul George and Kawhi Leonard combined for 65 points in Game 3 and led four players in double figures as the Clippers got back into the series. We’ve seen a few of these games from Kawhi in the playoffs this postseason and that is what the best of the best do. He had 35 points on a 14-of-24 night and also pulled down 12 rebounds. PG had 31, as his up-and-down postseason continues, but he picked the right time for a big game.
Once again, Reggie Jackson proved to be a big part of the equation with 17 points. Jackson’s foul trouble might have been the difference in Game 1, as he was limited to just 17 minutes on the floor and only had nine points. Though the Clippers lost Game 2, Jackson had 29 to make it close during an off night from Kawhi. Jackson has been a huge third scorer for the Clippers in this postseason and he could once again be the key in Game 4 on Monday night.
The Clippers had a huge night from three-point range, as they were 19-of-36, despite a 1-of-6 performance from Leonard. George was 6-of-10 and that helped him get up over 30 points. The Clippers shot 56% from the floor as a whole. The game was a little bit closer than the final score would suggest in some ways, but the Clippers also led by 15 at the intermission.
We’ll have to see what the Clippers do in Game 4. Obviously the offense runs through Kawhi and PG. George had a big game, but he’s been unreliable in the playoffs. He’s scored at least 20 points in every game, but he’s also padded his numbers at the line a bit more often than you’d like to see.
Jazz vs. Clippers Free Pick
The Jazz absolutely need to be better defensively in Game 4. It seemed like it was just an off shooting night from them, but giving up 132 points is not going to win you many games, especially in the playoffs. There are also some quiet questions about Mitchell’s health, but it does feel like getting a good bit of the second half off on Saturday should help.
I’d expect Utah to adjust here. The Clippers are a great team to be sure, but they won’t shoot 53% from three again. The points with Utah seem like a decent wager here, as maybe we’ll finally get a close playoff game at some point.
Pick: Utah Jazz +5