Clippers vs. Jazz: The best player prop bets for Game 5
The NBA, like the rest of the world, turns on a trifle. What seemed like a minor tweak to Kawhi Leonard’s knee in Game 4 may in fact have been a season-ending knee injury. There was concern it was more when Kawhi sat out the final four and a half minutes with the game still in doubt, but he seemed to allay fears in his typical Kawhi way post-game: "I’m good," he said. "Next question."
But with Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelbourne reporting that Leonard will miss Game 5 and possibly the rest of the series, the momentum in the Clippers-Jazz series has shifted once again.
No team in NBA history has come back to win a series after starting in an 0-2 hole twice in a single postseason, but it sure seemed like the Clippers were on track to do it. After two narrow losses to the Jazz to start the second round, they had seized control in a pair of dominant wins at home. With Kawhi out, the rest of the Clippers will have their hands full trying to contain Mitchell, himself also hobbled by ankle woes.
Thu, June 17 2021, 2:10 AM
How does Leonard’s absence impact Game 5 tonight at 10:00 p.m. ET on TNT? We have odds and our three favorite player prop picks below.
DONOVAN MITCHELL OVER/UNDER 4.5 3-POINT FIELD GOALS MADE
The Jazz continue to desperately miss Mike Conley, whose status for Game 5 remains in doubt. In his absence, Donovan Mitchell, the remaining engine of the Utah offense, is doing his best to shoulder the burden.
Despite a productive outing in Game 4, Mitchell wasn’t able to impact the game for Utah the way he had in the three games prior. In part, this was because the Clippers’ switching scheme finally hit the right notes early, and a 13-30 first quarter ultimately decided the game.
It was the Clippers’ strong point of attack defense that made it so that only Mitchell was forced into hunting 3’s for much of the early going as Utah’s offense stagnated. When Mitchell eventually got going against Reggie Jackson in isolation later in the game, Ty Lue brought in Patrick Beverley and Terrance Mann to shore up the defense. Beverley, in particular, is seeing more time on Mitchell and wearing him down the way only Beverley can.
Mitchell’s ankle clearly hurt his explosion and lift in the paint. Whenever Mitchell can’t break the paint, he turns to the 3-ball. He took 15 of his 26 shots in Game 4 from deep, and with little time off to rest his ankle, that kind of volume should continue.
RUDY GOBERT OVER/UNDER 25.5 POINTS, REBOUNDS, and ASSISTS
Rudy Gobert, while obviously the key to the Jazz defense, also plays a central role in their offense. That’s because Rudy has roll gravity - if he dives to the hoop out of an action above the key, he sucks opposing players into him like a magnet lest he gets a dunk or shot at the rim. But the Clippers’ switching scheme has minimized Rudy’s effectiveness, and Mike Conley’s absence has hurt him even more. While Mitchell is more of a score-first player in true 2-guard fashion, Conley is a better pick and roll partner for Rudy, and has become excellent at setting Gobert up on the roll.
There’s good reason to think with Kawhi out, that Rudy will be a feature of the Jazz offense again. Clippers center Ivica Zubac has been relegated to a bench role for most of the series as L.A. found success going small, but with Leonard no longer in the lineup, their pieces for a small ball lineup are ill-fitting at best. Though trying to beat the Jazz at their own game is a poor prospect, the Clippers need competent bodies. L.A. has little choice but to play Zubac more, which leaves more room for Gobert to produce against a traditional center.
BOJAN BOGDANOVIC OVER/UNDER 17.5 POINTS
Bojan Bogdanovic has had the unenviable task this series of trying to slow down Kawhi Leonard, while still creating his own offense with what little energy he has left. He’s done a pretty decent job of it too, averaging 15.3 points in the series, and 18 in Game 4. But he should see a substantial scoring uptick in Game 5. Not only is he free from the taxing job of guarding Kawhi on one end, but L.A. doesn’t have a great matchup for him on the other.
Marcus Morris Sr. is strong enough, and Paul George is shifty enough, but only Kawhi was well-suited in both regards to slow down Bogdanovic.