Clippers vs. Jazz, 2017 NBA playoffs: Schedule, scores, predictions, and news

 <img alt="" src="" />      <p>This series will be very difficult to call.</p> <p id="AiSfka">Of all eight first-round matchups in the playoff picture, none harder to call than the No. 4 vs. No. 5 showdown between the <a href="">Los Angeles Clippers</a> and the <a href="">Utah Jazz</a>.</p> <p id="VEKQvY">After years of disappointment underscored by last year’s post-season cut short due to injury, the Clippers look to prove they can hang with the top teams out west. With a healthy <a href="">Chris Paul</a> and <a href="">Blake Griffin</a>, Los Angeles feels it’s a contender in their conference’s stacked top half. <a href="">DeAndre Jordan</a> is a Defensive Player of the Year candidate once again, manning the middle for a Clippers team deeper than it’s ever been.</p> <p id="PqbSKb">An emerging Jazz team won’t make their <a href="">odds</a> any easier. <a href="">Gordon Hayward</a> earned his first All-Star appearance in a career year in Utah this season. The Jazz added battle-tested veterans in <a href="">Joe Johnson</a> and <a href="">Boris Diaw</a> to the roster, and they signed <a href="">George Hill</a>, who has had the best season of his career, albeit in limited playing time. And as good as Jordan has been defensively, <a href="">Rudy Gobert</a> has taken the reins as the league’s menacing interior presence, with the DPOY award likely in tow.</p> <aside id="y7b0oS">
</aside><p id="AwYWcu">The Clippers could virtually lose everything they’ve built in this series if they fall to a wet-behind-the-ears Jazz team making its first playoff appearance since the <a href="">Deron Williams</a> era. A loss for Utah could be equally as damaging, though, as Hayward becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer and could jet town at a whim. </p> <h4 id="ZiaZE2">Key Matchup: Rudy Gobert vs. DeAndre Jordan</h4> <p id="tedBl4">Jordan probably looks at Gobert and sees a younger, more spry version of himself. But even the Clippers center wasn’t this good this early.</p>
<p id="7uGY7A">Gobert is arguably <a href="">the most valuable big man in the NBA</a>. His impact defensively is irreplaceable, but his rolling on screens contracts defenses and gives freedom to Utah’s steady half-court offense. It’s on Jordan to negate the Frenchman’s influence on the series.</p> <p id="kykjcG">As is it Gobert’s job to help neutralize Jordan’s ability to clean the glass. The Jazz center averages 12.8 rebounds, yet Jordan has him beat by a board per game. DJ also has 20 pounds on Gobert and will use some of that strength to keep him off the glass.</p> <p id="839618">Neither are traditional, back-to-the-basket scoring bigs, but their impact on offense—and on each other—will be key to their respective teams’ success in the first round.</p> <p id="WVBsc8"><strong>Series Schedule</strong></p> <p id="vWgBHn">Game 1: Jazz 97, Clippers 95 (<a href="">recap</a>)</p> <p id="AmYCU7">Game 2: Clippers 99, Jazz 91 (<a href="">recap</a>)</p> <p id="FJHRbN">Game 3: Clippers 111, Jazz 106 (<a href="">recap</a>)</p> <p id="3Ghn4J">Game 4: Jazz 105, Clippers 98 (<a href="">recap</a>)</p> <p id="xg1hCO">Game 5: Apr. 25 at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)</p> <p id="5R9SUM">Game 6: Apr. 28 at Utah</p> <p id="dZjgH3">Game 7*: Apr. 30 at Los Angeles</p> <p id="dMsb1M"><em><strong>*if necessary</strong></em></p> <h4 id="cO9cH5">Predictions</h4> – All Posts