The Utah Jazz get to take on the clear Rookie of the Year, Blake Griffin, and the Los Angeles Clippers tonight in LA. These two teams met twice last month, and the Jazz came away victorious in each contest. In both games, the Jazz scored 109 points as they were able to get solid point contributions out of their starting 5 (Raja Bell’s 9 points in their first meeting was the lowest by a Jazz starter in the two games).
Coming off of a tough loss to a very beatable Portland team, the Jazz are definitely going to show up with purpose tonight. They know that the Clippers are playing better basketball lately, and they know exactly what Blake Griffin is capable of. He has destroyed the competition with his acrobatic dunks and plethora of rebounds, and there is no doubt in my mind that he will notch his 20th straight double-double against the Jazz tonight.
In Utah’s previous game against Portland, they showed an inability to shut down LaMarcus Aldridge in the second half. If they showed trouble against a player like Aldridge, who is a lot less physical than Griffin, there’s a good chance that Griffin will be the guy they struggle with the most on this Clippers ball club. After all, it was only a month ago that Griffin displayed a 35-point and 14 rebound performance against the Jazz.
Because Griffin is basically unstoppable, the Jazz need to make sure to limit the production by the supporting cast. Guys like Eric Gordon and Eric Bledsoe are players who can put up 20 points in a game, but they cannot do that if Utah wants to have a good chance at winning this game. D-Will needs to step it up defensively and put pressure on the young Bledsoe, and he has to force him into uncomfortable spots. As for Gordon, Raja Bell is going to need to bring an A+ effort if he wants to stymie him. Gordon can score from anywhere on the court, and Bell is definitely going to have his hands full with the 2nd year player out of Indiana.
With the Clippers’ recent success (winning 3 out of 4), I can see this being a very good game. The Clippers are going to want to show that they are becoming a legitimate team, and the Jazz want to bounce back from the Portland loss in the worst way. If there is one thing I can guarantee, it is that Blake Griffin is going to a few jaw-dropping highlights. Will that be enough to propel the Clippers over the Jazz? We’ll just have to wait and see. And if you were wondering, I’m leaning towards a Jazz victory behind another superb performance by the best point guard in the game, Deron Williams.
For your entertainment, you can check out some Blake Griffin highlights before the game tonight. Let’s just hope that Griffin doesn’t add to his highlight reel against the Jazz.