Point guard: The Clippers’ Chris Paul (18.1 points, 9.2 cheap women jerseys
assists, 5.0 rebounds a game) is regarded as one of the league’s premier playmakers, though injuries have often hindered him from achieving the type of success that was expected from him. When he’s got it rolling, though, and is driving, dishing and scoring, it’s a sight to see. this year. Utah’s George Hill (16.9 points, 4.2 assists and 3.4 rebounds a game) is equally experienced and extremely adept at running the show when healthy, and he has the defensive ability to keep Paul in check. Edge: Clippers.
Center: Rudy Gobert has emerged as one of the best big men in the NBA, and his 14.0 points, 12.8 rebounds and league leading 2.6 blocks per game only begin to describe his value to the Jazz organization. The 7 foot 1 Frenchman shot 66 percent from the field, second in the league only to his Clippers counterpart, DeAndre Jordan, who checked in with averages of 12.7 points and 13.8 rebounds per game. Jordan and Gobert rank third and fourth, respectively, in rebounding, but it’s Gobert’s tremendous improvement on the offensive end of the floor that has made him a legitimate weapon this season. Edge: Jazz.
Jazz: Joe Johnson (9.2 ppg), Shelvin Mack (7.8 ppg), Joe Ingles (7.1 points, 3.2 rebounds. 2.7 assists per game), Dante Exum (6.2 ppg) and Boris Diaw (4.6 points, 2.3 assists per game) have combined forces to give Utah’s hopes for success a huge boost, especially in the wake of the team’s injury woes this season. That group started a combined 99 games so, should Snyder decide to start Diaw or Johnson at the power forward spot, it would move Favors to the bench, where he would provide a superb backup to Gobert at center. Alec Burks and Jeff Withey have also had their moments off the bench for the Jazz. Utah’s versatility in its lineup, with Ingles and Johnson more than capable of playing multiple positions, is one of the team’s greatest assets.
Clippers: Jamal Crawford could be the biggest wild card in this series. The veteran guard averaged 12.3 ppg this season, and he exploded for a 28 points in their most recent victory over the Jazz on March 25. Big man Marreese Speights (8.7 points, 4.5 rebounds a game), guard Raymond Felton (6.7 ppg) and Brandon Bass (5.6 ppg) have also been key contributors for the Clippers, who will sorely miss guard Austin Rivers (12.0 ppg), who suffered a hamstring injury in late March and is doubtful until probably Game 4 of this series.
Jazz: Quin Snyder is regarded as one of the brightest and best young coaches in the NBA, and the Jazz have shown steady and at times remarkable improvement in his three years at the helm. He and his staff did a masterful job of finding a way to navigate their lineup through a season which was ravaged by injuries to key players, and their amazing juggling act produced 51 victories in what should earn Snyder some strong NBA Coach of the Year consideration. But this will be the first playoff series of his head coaching career.
Jazz: Making their first postseason appearance since 2012, this team last won a playoff series in 2010, when the Jazz finished off the Denver Nuggets in six games in a first round matchup, which is also the last time Utah won a playoff game or a road playoff game. . After a five year postseason absence, Vivint Arena is expected to be rocking when the Jazz return to their raucous home court for Games 3 and 4 on Friday, April 21, and Sunday, April 23. Game 6, if necessary, would also be played in Salt Lake City on Friday, April 28.
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