The LA Clippers have played some dominant basketball to win three straight games against the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference Semifinals. They’ll have the opportunity to clinch the series in Game 6 on Saturday at Staples Center, which will host fans at full capacity for the first time this season.
With Donovan Mitchell leading the way, the Utah Jazz seemed the better team early on, winning each of the first two matchups of the series. Mitchell continues to excel, but the Jazz have failed to keep up with the LA Clippers, who made the necessary adjustments to turn the tide in their favor.
Kawhi Leonard’s absence was a major blow to Tyronn Lue’s unit, but Paul George rose to the occasion in Game 5. PG13 dropped 37 points, 16 rebounds and five assists to secure a huge win for his side. The LA Clippers have all the momentum and now it’s time for the Utah Jazz to showcase their mettle if they want to survive.
Utah Jazz Injury Report
Donovan Mitchell struggled throughout Game 5 and revealed during the post-game interview that he was indeed playing through pain. Mitchell is currently listed as questionable for tonight’s matchup with right ankle soreness.
Mike Conley hasn’t featured in the Western Conference Semifinals yet due to a mild hamstring strain. Conley admitted there was a setback during his recovery phase and he’s listed as questionable again.
LA Clippers Injury Report
Head coach Tyronn Lue announced on Thursday that Kawhi Leonard will not be available for Game 6. There’s no definitive update or return timetable set for Leonard, whose injury is currently being referred to as a right knee sprain.
Serge Ibaka is the other absentee for the LA Clippers. Ibaka hasn’t played at all in this series and has already undergone season-ending surgery to fix a back injury.
Utah Jazz vs LA Clippers: Predicted Lineups
Even though both Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell are questionable for tonight, they’re likely to suit up considering it’s a win-or-go-home situation for the Utah Jazz. They’ll form the starting backcourt while Bojan Bogdanovic, Royce O’Neale and Rudy Gobert will complete the starting lineup.
Jordan Clarkson will once again be the first man off the bench for the Utah Jazz. Joe Ingles will join the second unit upon Conley’s return. Forwards Derrick Favors and Georges Niang haven’t been too productive in the last couple of games, but they should still play a few minutes.
The LA Clippers were forced to make one change in the starting lineup on Wednesday, with Terance Mann replacing Kawhi Leonard. Mann should keep his starting spot tonight and the rest of the starting roles will be filled by Reggie Jackson, Paul George, Marcus Morris Sr. and Nicolas Batum.
Rajon Rondo has failed to impress off the bench for the LA Clippers, but Patrick Beverley’s playing time has increased due to his solid defensive ability. Luke Kennard will also get a chance to impress with his shooting ability. Centers Ivica Zubac and DeMarcus Cousins could get a few minutes as well.
Utah Jazz vs LA Clippers: Predicted Starting 5s
Point Guard – Mike Conley | Shooting Guard – Donovan Mitchell | Small Forward – Bojan Bogdanovic | Power Forward – Royce O’Neale | Center – Rudy Gobert
Point Guard – Reggie Jackson | Shooting Guard – Paul George | Small Forward – Terance Mann | Power Forward – Marcus Morris Sr. | Center – Nicolas Batum
Also read: Utah Jazz vs LA Clippers Prediction & Match Preview – June 18th, 2021 | Game 6, 2021 NBA Playoffs