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The Jazz barely got it done, minus starting point guard Mike Conley Jr., in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal series vs. the Clippers. Can they do it a second time?
We’re about to find out, as Conley has been ruled out for a second straight game with a hamstring issue.
While the Jazz claimed Game 1, it took an otherworldly second-half performance from Donovan Mitchell and a major defensive stop from Rudy Gobert at the end to get it done. It didn’t hurt that Clippers star Paul George went a miserable 4-of-17 shooting.
For Game 2, the Jazz (-3) are the favorites. The game is again in Utah, offering another advantage. But missing Conley almost crushed the offense last time, given that they at first got few good looks and missed more than 21 straight shots in the first half.
You’d think everything is set up for the Clippers to steal one and make a series of it. They won all three games at Dallas in the last series, before finally getting Game 7 at home. They still have a motivated George and Kawhi Leonard. They know that teams rarely come back from a 2-0 series deficit. And they have the advantage in depth especially, again, with Conley sidelined
Those reasons and more are why the smart money says LA will even the series. As for the over-under of 234, this one figures to be even more of a defensive struggle than the last one, so taking the under with your dollars would make the most sense.