LA Clippers Rooting Interest: Utah Jazz

LA Clippers Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
LA Clippers Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

As the Jazz-Nuggets series goes to a Game 7, we look at why LA Clippers fans should be cheering for a Utah win.

The LA Clippers are in the second round, having defeated the Dallas Mavericks in six games. While they have advanced, the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz have played in a tight series that culminates in a game seven on Tuesday night.

Who should LA Clippers’ fans be rooting for? It depends.

Let’s look at why the may want to pull for the Utah Jazz.

Related Story. Why LA Clippers' fans should root for the Denver Nuggets. light

The Clippers and Jazz faced off three times in the regular season with Utah winning two of the contests. The first came without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George playing, so there isn’t a ton to take away from that one. The lone Clippers’ win was without Paul George and was a 30 point effort by Leonard. In the third matchup, both teams had six players score in double-digits but the Jazz won behind a 30 point effort by Donovan Mitchell.

It’s worth noting that all three games happened in 2019 – months before the Clippers made moves to nab both Marcus Morris and Reggie Jackson. Maurice Harkless, who Morris replaced, scored a combined 4 points in those three games.

So, why should Clippers fans be rooting for Utah over Denver? For me, comes down to their wings. Mitchell has been a flamethrower from everywhere in the first round but he has not had a defender like Patrick Beverley, Kawhi Leonard, Marcus Morris, or Paul George on him. We saw the Clippers could lock down Luka Doncic for brief periods when they put their foot down and, let’s be honest, Mitchell is no Doncic.

If the Clippers can contain Mitchell, they should be fine. If anything, their ability to switch helps a ton. Zach Lowe of ESPN in previewing the game seven between Utah and Denver even believes switching constantly is the best way to defend both Mitchell and Murray. While he notes that neither team in that series is capable of doing so, the Clippers can easily do it.

On the flip side, the Jazz cannot realistically cover Kawhi and PG. I mean, they are letting Jamal Murray go off nearly every night and he’s not in the former two’s class. Joe Ingles is a great defender and will definitely give one of the two wings trouble at times but Utah just isn’t equipped to do so. If they had Bojan Bogdanovic with them to at least add a little wing size, it might be a little better for the Jazz but they don’t, so it’s all moot. This isn’t even including the possible scoring added from the likes of Morris, Lou Williams, and Landry Shamet.

Rudy Gobert is a deterrent at the rim and will provide some size problems when Montrezl Harrell is on the court but compared to Nikola Jokic, the Clippers would likely fare better against Gobert. He isn’t a huge offensive threat and Zubac can bang in the post with him to start the game, potentially getting him in some early foul trouble.

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All in all, the Clippers match up pretty well against either team. Still, given the fact that they can guard Mitchell with multiple players while Utah will have trouble getting stops, I think the Jazz should be who we root for in game seven.