L.A. Clippers At Utah
When: 10:30 PM
ET, Friday, April 28, 2017
Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah
The Utah Jazz haven't won a playoff series in seven years and they look to end the drought when they host the Los Angeles Clippers in Friday's Game 6 of the Western Conference first-round playoff series. The Jazz hold a 3-2 series lead and are aiming to close out their first postseason series since downing the Denver Nuggets in a first-round clash in 2010.
Veteran swingman Joe Johnson averaged 9.2 points in the regular season but has increased that to 18.2 while leading a young squad toward a second-round clash with the top-seeded Golden State Warriors. "We are kind of growing up in the moment," Johnson told reporters after Game 5. "These guys have never been in this situation. We have to go home with a business mindset and not be overconfident but confident enough." Los Angeles has its back against the wall and being sent home in the opening round would leave a bitter taste in the mouths of players who were predicting a spot in the conference finals. "This team is not going to quit, I can tell you that," Clippers coach Doc Rivers told reporters. "You could see it in the locker room."
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, Prime Ticket (Los Angeles), ROOT (Utah)
ABOUT THE CLIPPERS: Los Angeles was mighty dismayed with the Game 5 showing in which it scored only 58 points through three quarters before succumbing 96-92 on its home floor. "It's no secret our back's against the wall, down 3-2," point guard Chris Paul told reporters after scoring 28 points. "Fortunately we've got a lot of guys in the locker room who had to do this a couple of years ago. We've got to do what we've got to do." The loss of power forward Blake Griffin (toe) was magnified further when Marreese Speights tallied one point while starting in Griffin's place.
ABOUT THE JAZZ: Johnson has been a force in a series in which the Jazz didn't have standout center Rudy Gobert (knee) for nearly all of three consecutive games and All-Star small forward Gordon Hayward (food poisoning) was a non-entity in Game 4 before being sent home at halftime. Hayward was back on his game in Tuesday's victory as he contributed 27 points and eight rebounds while Gobert recorded 11 points, 11 rebounds, five steals and two blocked shots. "We have to treat this one as a must-win," Hayward told reporters. "We want to close it out in Salt Lake City. We definitely don't want to come back (to Los Angeles) for Game 7."
1. The Jazz are 5-0 when holding a 3-2 lead in a playoff series.
2. Los Angeles SG J.J. Redick scored 26 points in Game 5 after averaging 7.8 points over the first four games.
3. Utah backup SG Rodney Hood is averaging 17 points over the past two games after averaging eight over the first three contests.
PREDICTION: Jazz 93, Clippers 88
Stats and Records
Utah Off vs
L.A. Clippers Def
100.6 Points For
104.1 Points Against