The Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers split the first two games in L.A., with the Jazz taking Game 1 and Clippers taking Game 2. Joe Johnson’s game-winning two-point basket gave Utah a surprising Game 1 victory after the team lost defensive anchor Rudy Gobert. The Clippers fired back in Game 2 with magnificent performances from their big three.

No Rudy Gobert again

Unfortunately for Utah, they will be without Rudy Gobert once again. Although the big man is doing some light work during practices, the team wants to be cautious and doesn’t want him to play through pain. Therefore, the Jazz must survive another game without their paint protector.

Clippers should attack the paint

With Gobert sidelined, the Clippers should continue to attack the rim like they did in Game 2, scoring most of their points in the painted area. Utah’s rebounding has also suffered without Gobert, as DeAndre Jordan and the Clippers have been feasting on the boards. Jordan has been averaging 15 rebounds in the first two games, and the Clippers have out-rebounded the Jazz, 79-67.

Aggressive Chris Paul

Chris Paul was aggressive right from the start in Game 2, setting the tone early. The same level of intensity is expected from Paul again in Game 3. When he is assertive, the Clippers are difficult to beat because Paul dominates the game with his mid-range shooting and passing abilities.

In Game 1 he was the complete opposite, which hurt the team and resulted in the loss. Being in a tough environment, the Clippers need Paul to dominate the game from the beginning.

Utah’s veterans

While Utah’s veterans were huge in Game 1, they were rather quiet in Game 2. Since Gobert is out, the Jazz need major performances from their veterans again.

In Game 1 Joe Johnson was brilliant, and he should play a significant role in Game 3. George Hill and Boris Diaw will also be essential to the team’s success.

The use of hack-a-Jordan

Hack-a-Jordan has yet to make an appearance in this series. In the past, many teams have abused the method in the playoffs, which deflated the Clippers' offense.

The Jazz could have used hack-a-Jordan in Game 2 but opted not to. If the Clippers' offense is sparkling again in Game 3, we may see the Jazz resort to fouling Jordan intentionally. That way, Utah can stop the Clippers' offense or force Doc Rivers to pull Jordan out of the game, which would then hurt their defense.

It’s a smart strategy. especially since it has become very difficult for the Jazz to protect the paint without Rudy Gobert. Ultimately, the Clippers could respond to hack-a-Jordan by intentionally fouling Derrick Favors, who is 4-of-9 from the free-throw line in the series.

It should be another entertaining, physical battle between these two teams. The game is at the Vivint Smart Home Arena where the Jazz usually play top-notch basketball.

With the series tied at one apiece, Game 3 could be a huge game for both teams. Can the Clippers reclaim Home Court Advantage or will the Jazz take a 2-1 lead?

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