National Basketball Association
Utah at L.A. Clippers
When: 3:30 PM ET, Saturday, March 25, 2017
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
The Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers are battling for the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference and their matchup in Los Angeles on Saturday is a highly pivotal contest for both clubs. Utah holds a 1 1/2-game lead over the Clippers and a win greatly improves its chances while Los Angeles can get right back in the chase by knocking off the Jazz.
The Clippers harmed their chances for the seed that lands homecourt advantage for the first round when it suffered a 97-95 road loss against the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday. "I don't care about the (playoff) race, I care about how we play," Los Angeles coach Doc Rivers told reporters. "I really like this team, I've said it. We're back finally as a whole. You can see we got our kinks out now that everyone is back, but that part was frustrating. We just didn't get good shots overall down the stretch when we had gotten them all game." Utah center Rudy Gobert scored a career-high 35 points and collected 13 rebounds as the Jazz posted a 108-101 victory over the New York Knicks on Wednesday to halt a three-game losing streak. Gobert is averaging just 9.7 points in three games against Los Angeles this season but has grabbed 11 rebounds per contest.
3:30 p.m. ET, Utah (ROOT), Los Angeles (Prime Ticket)ABOUT THE JAZZ (44-28):
Gobert is known for his terrific defense and rebounding but he operated at will against New York by making 13-of-14 shots. "If you attack the rim and you don't settle and you play with force on offense, with Rudy, if you just get the ball up on the basket, he's got a chance to tip it in," Utah coach Quin Snyder told reporters. "He's so long, it's tough to get him off the glass. It starts with a chain reaction of those guys driving." All-Star small forward Gordon Hayward scored 19 points on just 6-of-17 shooting against the Knicks after recording a career-best 38 points two nights earlier against the Indiana Pacers.
ABOUT THE CLIPPERS (43-30):
Los Angeles wraps up the regular season by playing seven of nine games at home so a victory over Utah would certainly bolster its odds of landing the No. 4 seed. The slate includes several games against light competition, including two home games against the Sacramento Kings, one against the Los Angeles Lakers and a road tilt against the Phoenix Suns. Center DeAndre Jordan has notched five consecutive double-doubles after having 14 points and 18 rebounds against the Mavericks.BUZZER BEATERS
1. The Clippers are 2-1 against the Jazz this season and won 17 of the past 19 meetings.
2. Los Angeles SG J.J. Redick scored only nine points on 2-of-9 shooting against Dallas after averaging 19 points on 25-of-41 shooting over the previous four contests.
3. Utah PF Derrick Favors (knee) will likely miss his ninth consecutive game.PREDICTION:
Clippers 103, Jazz 99
Stats and Records