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The Los Angeles Clippers They lost 2-0 in their second straight playoff series, and the panic has started again. For a damned franchise that didn’t make it to the Western Conference finals, let alone NBA Finals, looks like very familiar territory.
Across two games, Donovan Mitchell averages 41.0 points per game on 52.5 percent of shooting, including 12 for 27 (44.4 percent) from a 3-point range. Utah turned off the lights, and Game 2 felt like a very missed opportunity for the Clippers to steal one down the road. They’ve lost a lot of wide open looks after coming back to their lead in the fourth quarter, and that kind of pitfall – especially with Mike Conley missing the first two games – could prove costly. Utah is the rightful contender for the title, and no one should be surprised if this group rains down on the Los Angeles Parade.
However, this series still looked like it could go the distance, even if it was overwhelmingly “jazz” to this point. Here are three reasons why it’s too early to count the clippers just yet.
3. Law of Averages
During their first two games, the Jazz made 41.6 percent of the 3-point range, making 37 attempts in total. Meanwhile, the Clippers, who have been the most efficient three-pointer team in the NBA this season at 41.1 percent, are 10 seconds short of Utah, scoring 37.5 percent. That’s not a terrible proportion, and Los Angeles produced out of jazz from a distance isn’t terribly surprising; They led the league in 3-point attempts and did, after all.
But the Clippers’ efficiency slipped nearly a full four percentage points, and in Game 1, they shot just 5 for 19 at what NBA.com calls wide open 3s, with the nearest defender six feet away. After losing a whole stack of wide open 3s back in Game 2, there is clear room for improvement as the series moves to the friendly border of Staples Center.
In a series of seven games, there is much more room for variance, which can eliminate 3-point shooting teams. At such small sample sizes, a single cold streak can undo an entire season of hitting three times at the elite clip. But if we look at reasons to believe this Clippers could make this a streak, we have 72 games of data to suggest this team is dangerous outside of the arc. The Law of Averages says they deserve a hot shooting night.
2. Jazz banged
As if Mike Conley’s first two games absence with a hamstring injury wasn’t bad enough, late in the second game, Donovan Mitchell straightened his ankle in a collision with Paul George. It was visibly annoyed, limping around the field for those last minutes and Reportedly lamer into the locker room after the game.
In the availability of post-game modes, Mitchell was Insisting he’s fine He seems to be in good spirits asking questions about his ankle disc. But given his issues with that exact ankle just a few weeks ago, it’s clear that Utah needs Conley back soon to take some pressure off Spida to do it all.
Mitchell was working on fumes in Game 2, and it showed in his play: After dropping 27 sparkling points in the first half, he scored just 10 points the rest of the night in a 4-of-13 shot. Utah had enough to win in front of their home crowd Thursday night, but with The series has shifted to Los Angeles, and with Conley still out and possibly for Mitchell, the Clippers have a golden opportunity to bounce back.
1. They’ve done this before
The Utah Jazz is clearly a different animal than the Dallas Mavericks, but the similarities here are undeniable. Going down 2-0, looking completely defeated and ripped apart by a rival star keeper before winning twice in a row and spinning to win the series in seven? There’s a chance that finding a team like Utah a two-game lead could prove fatal, but the Clippers haven’t played a home game yet.
The adage “a streak doesn’t start until a road team wins a game” still applies, even if the Clippers have to win the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Some Point if they want to progress. Anyway, LA has been here before, very recently, and they have enough talent to win two home games to make this series again.
Kowhi Leonard was locked up by Bojan Bogdanovic, who set him with 22.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game on 47.2 percent of the shot. Those aren’t terrible numbers, but they’re a lot less than what the Clippers expected from their flagship during the regular season, and again, can we really expect Bojan Bogdanovic To restrict kohi like that to an entire series?
Paul George was not bad in the second game, but he similarly did not make his mark in the series. Quite possibly Leonard would take the lead there, but no matter what, the Clippers didn’t pay off like they used to, they were burned by Mitchell (who might not be 100 percent), and they did. Still in both games. The Jazz are a very good team and are fully capable of doing short work with the Clippers if they don’t come to play, but there are still some signs that LA will make things interesting again in Game 3.
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