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Clippers Poised to Complete Upset of Jazz

Paul George and the Los Angeles Clippers are small home underdogs in NBA betting odds as they try to end their playoff series vs the Utah Jazz on Friday night.

Led by Paul George, Los Angeles (54-30 SU, 46-36-2 ATS) overcame the absence of Kawhi Leonard to shock Utah (58-24, 46-34-2) in Game 5. A capacity crowd is expected at Staples Center tonight as LA looks to clinch its first-ever trip to the Western Conference final.

Utah Jazz vs Los Angeles Clippers
  • Date/Time: June 18, 10 p.m. ET
  • Arena: Staples Center
  • TV Coverage: ESPN
  • Opening Odds: Jazz -1.5 | O/U 218.5 (Line History)
  • Jazz vs Clippers Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

Oddsmakers made a 6-point adjustment to the point spread when Leonard missed Game 5, and they’ve done the same in Game 6 with Leonard expected to be out once again. Utah opened as a 1.5-point road favorite after being an underdog of 4.5 and 5 points in the first two games at Staples Center.

Utah News & Notes

Even though they scorched the nets for 37 first-quarter points on Wednesday, the Jazz may have been guilty of thinking things would come easily against the Kawhi-less Clippers.

“I didn’t feel like we were playing with a sense of urgency at the beginning of the game,” Rudy Gobert told the Salt Lake Tribune. “In a way, I wish we would have missed some early shots so maybe we would have thought that we needed to play some defense to win the game.”

No one was hotter early than Bojan Bogdanovic, who drilled his first six three-point attempts on his way to a 32-point evening. However, the Jazz didn’t have many answers after LA made some defensive adjustments at halftime to slow Bogdanovic down. Utah went 0-for-10 from behind the arc in the third quarter, when they missed 17 consecutive shots from the perimeter.

The Clippers were able to dial in on stopping Bogdanovic because Donovan Mitchell, the Jazz’s leading scorer in the playoffs, is clearly struggling with an ankle injury suffered earlier in the series. Mitchell missed 13 of his 19 shots from the field in a 21-point effort and admitted to reporters after the game that his ankle is getting worse as the series moves along.

Mitchell’s injury and the Jazz’s must-win situation might be enough to prompt Mike Conley to attempt a return from the hamstring strain that has kept him out of the series so far.

Los Angeles News & Notes

Maybe he’s Playoff P after all? Hours after Leonard’s injury news seemed to sound a death knell on the Clippers’ playoff chances, George might have produced the best effort of his postseason career, scoring 37 points and adding 16 rebounds and five assists. It was George’s third straight outing with at least 30 points, coming on the heels of 31-point showings in Games 3 and 4.

Expect George to carry the weight of the offense again tonight as coach Ty Lue announced Thursday that Leonard will also miss Game 6 due to his knee injury. Los Angeles does have plenty of experience playing without Kawhi this season, going 12-9 SU when Leonard hasn’t suited up and 6-5 SU when he doesn’t play but George does.

One thing the Clippers won’t be missing tonight is crowd support. California relaxed its COVID-19 regulations on Tuesday, meaning that Staples Center is allowed to be at full capacity for the first time this season. A sellout crowd is anticipated as the Clippers look to clinch the first trip to the Western Conference final in franchise history.

Betting Pick: Clippers +1.5

LA already proved it can beat the Jazz without Leonard in the lineup, and Utah’s backcourt injuries look like too much to overcome.

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Shark Bites
  • The total has gone OVER in 8 of Utah’s last 10 games.
  • Los Angeles is 12-5 SU in its last 17 home games.
  • Utah is 2-5 SU in its last 7 road games vs LA.