Los Angeles Clippers vs. Utah Jazz - 4/18/17 NBA Pick, Odds, and Prediction

On the first play of the game, the Jazz lost potential Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert to a knee injury. His contribution will be crucial; Gobert provides much-needed rim protection and his offensive game has steadily improved this season.

The Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers meet in game two of the National Basketball Association first round playoffs Tuesday at the Staples Center.

The Utah Jazz may have lost Rudy Gobert less than 20 second into Game 1, but they still had "ISO" Joe Johnson.

Ingles had eight points, two assists and two steals in 32 minutes while Johnson, coming off the bench, had 21 points. And late in the fourth, Johnson picked up Paul, affording the Jazz the flexibility to switch high screens. "It's kind of like you're on an island by yourself and they expect for you to get that stop".

Gordan Hayward had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Jazz.

"We just wanted to have it where they couldn't set up on us", Hayward said, glancing at Johnson. "Joe [Johnson] has been tremenouds". "If we don't, we shouldn't even go out there and lace up our shoes".

Neither team led by more than six points in the first half. But Gobert's long-term future is the most important part, and he's under Jazz control for the next four seasons. There's something to be said for calling time-out and there's something to be said for not calling the time-out. It's entirely possible that we look back at this series and see it as a turning point for one, or both, of these franchises. The Jazz haven't given a timetable for his return, but Gobert will not play in Game 2. Blake Griffin was the top guy in scoring for Los Angeles as he exploded for 26 points.

"Our defense has to be better", said a disappointed Paul after the loss.

Despite losing Gobert in Game 1, the Jazz stole the opener by playing a disciplined game, giving themselves a chance to win at the end and refusing to play the role of victim without their starting center.

Gobert is likely out for the rest of the series against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Thompson picked up the slack with Curry sidelined a year ago against Portland, leading the Warriors in scoring in three of the five games - with 37 points, 27 and 33. Maybe he's saving some bounce for the playoffs, but maybe he just had one too many knee surgeries. After flaming out in each of the past three playoffs in heartbreaking fashion, the Clippers find themselves facing the prospect of going back to a raucous Salt Lake City trailing by two games if they can't find a way to win Game 2 on Tuesday.

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