The Utah Jazz survived a tough first-round matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers, winning three games in Los Angeles including the win-or-go-home Game 7. Now they have earned the right to play against the Golden State Warriors, which is going to be much tougher.

Injury update for both teams

It’s only Game 1, but there are a handful of injured players already in this series. For Utah, Derrick Favors is deemed questionable due to lower back stiffness. The 25-year-old was banged up during the Clippers series but played through pain and produced consistently. If he is out, it would be a major loss for the Jazz.

They need all their players healthy against the Warriors. The Jazz also announced that they have shut down Alec Burks for the remainder of the playoffs due to knee pain.

For Golden State, Shaun Livingston continues to be questionable, as he has been nursing a hand injury since the first round. Meanwhile, Matt Barnes, who has been sitting out since April 9 due to a foot injury, is considered probable to play in Game 1. Kevon Looney, however, will continue to sit out with a hip injury but wouldn’t be much of a factor even if he was healthy to play.

The pace of the game

When the Jazz were playing the Clippers, the pace of the game was emphasized because Utah succeeds when the pace is very slow and they are setting up plays in the half court.

They were able to maintain that pace against the Clippers, but the Warriors are different. Golden State is so versatile that it can play fast or slow. They have enough play makers and scorers to find quality offense in half-court sets, and they also have incredible finishers in the fast break to play an up-tempo style.

No matter how you put it, the Warriors deadly and tough to stop.

Additionally, they will use their strong defense to possibly force turnovers, which will lead to easy transition baskets. The Jazz must be extremely clean and efficient on the offensive end if they want to control the pace, but it’s not going to be an easy task.

Klay Thompson vs. Gordon Hayward

Klay Thompson going up against Gordon Hayward will be the most interesting matchup of this series. Being the Warriors’ best perimeter defender, Thompson will be asked to defend Hayward, and he will gladly accept the challenge. More than likely, Klay will frustrate and force Hayward into tough shots, while on the other end, he will exhaust Hayward with his constant running around the perimeter to find open three-point shots. It should be an exciting battle between the two guards.

No switching on screens for Utah

Against the Clippers, the Jazz resorted to a lot of switching on defense because the Clippers didn’t have enough weapons offensively to force mismatches.

Additionally, the Jazz were versatile enough to switch on Chris Paul, who was essentially the only offensive threat. Against the Warriors, the Jazz cannot get away with switches because Golden State would eat them alive on offense. The Warriors have so many offensive weapons and are so explosive that it wouldn’t be ideal for Utah to switch on pick-and-rolls.

It will be interesting to see how the Jazz matchup against a much better team like the Warriors. They shocked the Clippers in the first round with their smothering defense, but Golden State is a tougher matchup. Game 2 will take place at the Oracle Arena and is scheduled to tipoff at 10:30 pm Eastern Time.

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