After struggling to find its rhythm over the first couple months of the season, it looks like the Jazz are finally getting back to the level of play we saw from a team that played well last year into the playoffs. The team has now won 6 of its last 7 games in what has been a very busy January (8 games already). BTW: The lone loss came on the road against the NBA’s top Eastern Conference team, the Milwaukee Bucks. 2nd-year G Donovan Mitchell has really picked up the scoring pace over the team’s last 6 games, scoring at a ridiculous rate of 30 PPG, which is likely why the team has had so much recent success. A decent supporting cast is doing just enough to keep defenses from double-teaming the blossoming All-Star.
The Clippers are 4th in the league in scoring (115 PPG), while shooting 47.4 (6th in NBA) from the field and 38.8% (3rd in NBA) from 3-point range. The month of January has not been so kind to the Clippers, resulting in the team losing 4 of its 7 games, including 3 of 5 at home. What this team lacks is consistency, which is necessary in a tough Western Conference where the Clippers are 17-13. Because of its fast pace of play, the defense is giving up 114.3 PPG, 7th worst in the NBA. Tobias Harris leads the team in both scoring (20.8) and rebounding (8.0 RPG). Lou Williams continues to excel as the league’s best 6th man, scoring just under 19 PPG.
Prediction: This game gets down to simple math. With Mitchel playing so well and the team finding its rhythm, the Jazz are scoring at 110 PPG. They now face a weak defense and an offense that ranks 4th in the league in scoring. If Los Angeles can dictate the pace of the game at home, this game could go easily over the total. Play over 221.5 (score – Los Angeles 118-113)