Clippers Hope History Outweighs Momentum Vs. Jazz

The Clippers have dropped three of their last four games and six of their last 10.

LOS ANGELES – The Clippers need to hope history against the Jazz outweighs the momentum both teams gained or lost prior to tonight’s matchup.

Led by Blake Griffin, who scored at least 28 points in each of the first two matchups against Utah this year, the Clippers (20-11) snagged the first two games against the Jazz (10-20) this season and have won the last 11 matchups overall.

But the Clippers come stumbling into tonight’s game at STAPLES Center against the Jazz, whose record doesn’t depict their recent success. When the Clippers last played the Jazz, Utah had lost four straight in what eventually became a nine-game losing streak. But the suddenly hot Jazz have recorded four of their 10 wins this season in their last five games, including victories against the Grizzlies and the Heat.

Meanwhile, the Clippers have dropped three of their last four games and six of their last 10. Despite some slow starts offensively, the consensus is the problem lies defensively, as the Clippers have allowed at least 100 points in eight of their last 10 games.

“It’s going to have to come defensively,” said Chris Paul. “You’ve got to find a way.”

LAST TIME OUT
Raptors 110, Clippers 98: The final score doesn’t depict how close this game was for three quarters. It wasn’t until the fourth with the backups on the floor that Toronto made its insurmountable run, starting the quarter on a 9-0 run and not stepping off the pedal. The Raptors got 18 of their 30 fourth-quarter points from the bench. The Clippers led after the first quarter but steadily lost ground the rest of their way, as fatigue from a jam-packed schedule started to show.

Jazz 88, 76ers 71: Derrick Favors had 17 points, five blocks and 15 rebounds. Trey Burke had 17 points and four assists. Opposing point guards have had success against Utah, and Tony Wroten had 20 points for Philadelphia, but it was inside that the Jazz held the advantage, outscoring the 76ers by 22 in the paint.

NOTEWORTHY MATCHUP
Gordon Hayward vs. Clippers’ perimeter defense – There’s a reason Doc Rivers has described Hayward as his “man crush” before. Despite two sizable wins for the Clippers against the Jazz, including one apiece at home and on the road, Hayward scored 30 in the last matchup and 27 in the previous one. Give the Clippers’ struggles defensively, another lapse against Hayward could be more catastrophic.

TWO THINGS TO WATCH
Griffin Dominance – Blake Griffin established himself in a major way in both previous matchups against the Jazz this season, scoring at least 28 points and hitting at least 13 field goals both times. The Clippers could use a spark any way they can get one, and Griffin hasn’t hit that 28-point mark in 10 days. He’s shown he’s capable of doing so against Utah.

Turnovers – The Clippers won the turnover battle and had more assists than Utah in both previous matchups against the Jazz. The Clippers lead the league in assist-to-turnover ratio, but recently teams have done a better job scoring off the Clippers’ turnovers than vice-versa.

NOTES
Utah struggles to hit from deep, while the Clippers boast the top true shooting percentage and second best 3-point percentage in the league… The Jazz are averaging just 96.1 points per game this year…Spencer Hawes (knee) is questionable for the Clippers, while Alec Burks (shoulder) is out for the Jazz, according to their game notes…Burks briefly left the last matchup against the Clippers after hurting his shoulder…The Jazz allow 108.3 points per 100 possessions, while the Clippers score 110 points per 100 possessions…The Clippers are 19-5 this year when scoring 100 points and 1-6 when they don’t…

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