Ever hear that saying about teams stepping up and rising to the occasion when their best player goes down to injury? If you never heard it, you certainly witnessed it on Wednesday night when the Los Angeles Clippers took the wood to the Utah Jazz to take a shocking 3-2 series lead hours after it was announced Kawhi Leonard would miss the game and possibly the remainder of the playoffs due to an ACL injury in his right knee.
And what a letdown it was for the Jazz who had the series lead all but gift wrapped but failed to take advantage. Now, they have to go into the Staples Center and come out with a win on Friday night just to send the series back to Salt Lake City for a seventh and deciding game. On top of that, linemakers are toying with NBA bettors’ emotions installing the Jazz short road chalk to pull off the feat. The NBA Playoffs haven’t made much sense so far, so why should that change now?
Game 6 of the best-of-seven series between the Jazz and Clippers will tip-off on Friday, June 18, 2021 from the Staples Center. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN at 10 pm ET.
Utah Jazz vs LA Clippers Game 6 Odds
Spread: Utah Jazz –2 | LA Clippers +2 [BET NOW]
Money Line: Utah Jazz -125 | LA Clippers +105 [BET NOW]
Total: 218.5 [BET NOW]
Series So Far
After closing 4.5-point and 5-point favorites at home in Games 3 and 4 respectively, the Clippers now find themselves installed short 1.5-point underdogs in tonight’s potential elimination game. It marks just the fifth time all season that LA will be receiving points from online sportsbooks. Three of those four tilts just so happened to be games that Leonard was forced to miss.
One of them came against this same Utah Jazz outfit who skunked them 114-96 as 6.5-point favorites. The teams were nip and tuck throughout the first half, but Utah hit the afterburners in the second stanza outscoring LA by 23 points! Utah never lost more than two straight games in the regular season. They’ve just dropped three straight. Will a possible fourth end their season in Game 6?
Those that laid the points with the Jazz thinking Los Angeles had no shot with Kawhi out of the lineup were already biting their nails down to the cuticles in the first half. Utah simply wasn’t able to achieve any sustainable separation and only took a 5-point lead into the break.
Then the Clippers took them out of their misery by outscoring them 32-18 in the third quarter to seemingly end any hopes of covering the closing 8.5-point spread. Utah’s defense was largely to blame as it allowed LA to convert 51 percent of its shots from the field as well as 16 of 40 from long range. On top of that, Utah committed 22 fouls and turned the ball over 13 times. Another effort like that, and it’ll be lights out baby!
Los Angeles Clippers
Think Paul George was a bit peeved that nobody gave him or his teammates a shot with Kawhi on the bench in street clothes? It’s pretty safe to assume he took it personally and took his frustrations out on the Jazz by lighting them up for 37 points on 12 of 22 shooting while draining 10 of his 11 shots from the charity stripe. PG-13 was in full effect!
If that wasn’t enough, he helped LA win the battle of the boards 39-36 by ripping down a game-high 16 rebounds with 13 coming off missed Utah shots; where the heck was Rudy Gobert?! He wasn’t the only one that stepped up however. Marcus Morris went for 25 points on 10 of 16 shooting, while Reggie Jackson made up for brutal performances in Games 1 and 4 with 22 points which included a 3 of 8 showing from downtown.
Utah Jazz vs LA Game 6 Prediction
Our best bet: Utah Jazz -1.5
This series made complete sense up until the Clippers threw a wrench into the machine and mucked it all up. Utah defended its court in the first two games. Los Angeles answered with two of its own. Then all of a sudden, Kawhi’s out and the Jazz are steamed from 2.5-point favorites at the open to 8.5-point favorites at the close.
Of course, the Clippers not only cover the inflated spread but go on to win the game outright. Because of it, they’re now the -165 favorites to win the series even though they’re catching points at home for Game 6 in their first opportunity to close the series out. This scenario has the same type of stink to it from when Brooklyn was catching points at home from Milwaukee in Game 5 but was still favored to win the East.
Utah still has shorter odds to win the West than Los Angeles even though it’s down in the series and playing for its playoff life. I’m not reading much more into it. Los Angeles just gave it their all in Game 5. I don’t foresee much being left in the tank. I fully expect Utah to send this series back to SLC for Game 7.
Check out today’s NBA odds.