The Utah Jazz will open their second round series against the L.A. Clippers on Tuesday night in Salt Lake City in a highly anticipated showdown of the West’s best team this year and a Clippers team that finally seemed to find their resolve as a unit in the last five games against Dallas.
Against the Grizzlies, the Jazz dropped Game 1 due in part to the absence of star guard Donovan Mitchell before rattling off four straight wins after his return to reach the second round. Against the Clippers, they’ll have to once again face a Game 1 without one of their backcourt All-Stars, this time as Mike Conley deals with a hamstring strain after aggravating the injury in Game 5 against Memphis.
Mike Conley is out for Game 1 (right hamstring strain).
— utahjazz (@utahjazz) June 8, 2021
It’s obviously a significant blow to the Jazz, as Conley has been the steady hand for them all season and played a big role in their series win over the Grizzlies, hitting 17-of-31 three-pointers while also orchestrating the offense. In his absence, the Jazz will rely further on Donovan Mitchell to be a creator and will likely give Jordan Clarkson more minutes while Joe Ingles would be the expected man moving into the starting lineup. If there is a silver lining it’s that point guard is not the Clippers’ strength so defensively, adding more size by moving Mitchell to the one and Ingles in at the two isn’t the worst thing in the world.
Still, this is an L.A. team riding high off their showing against Dallas late in that series and beating a confident Clippers team is going to be very difficult without one of your All-Star guards.