The Utah Jazz always seem to be handicapped by the absence of one of their star players. Rudy Gobert had been out essentially for three games before returning on Sunday, but Gordon Heyward, who had scored 40 points in the previous contest, had to leave with food poisoning. Hayward is officially listed as questionable, but we assume he’ll play in Game 5, as Utah has the opportunity to once again take advantage of the absence of Blake Griffin from the Clippers’ lineup. This game will get underway at 10:30 PM ET from the Staples Center, and BetAnySports customers will have the opportunity to place wagers even after the game has started, as they access what is available through Live Betting Ultra.
Even though the Jazz were missing Hayward in the second half, they didn’t need him to come through with a big rally. That’s because Joe Johnson has been the most outstanding player, at least on their side, in this series. Johnson, who comes off the bench, had 21 points in Game 1, including the game-winner, and he scored 28 in Game 4, in addition to five rebounds and five assists. He is 35 years old, but Utah management acquired him specifically for this purpose – to add some veteran presence that would get Utah into the playoffs and would make them more of a threat once they got into the post-season.
The Clippers, who shot only 25% of their attempts from three-point range in Game 3, had to shift gears with Griffin out of the lineup, as he is out for the rest of the playoffs with a toe injury. On Sunday, 42.7% of their field-goal attempts were from long-range. But that is the way they’re going to have to get it done the rest of the series, at least if Gobert doesn’t aggravate the knee he hyperextended in the first 20 seconds of Game 1.
In the NBA playoff lines that have been posted on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, the Clippers are laying points at home:
Los Angeles Clippers -3.5
Utah Jazz +3.5
Over 195 points -110
Under 195 points -110
Chris Paul is the guy who has had to take over for Los Angeles, and he’s doing a hell of a job with it. Paul has averaged close to 27 points and 11 assists in the series, and he shooting 53% from the field with only 10 turnovers. Jamal Crawford came alive in Game 4, with 25 points off the bench, including five triples. All this was in a losing cause, however, as Utah got inspired by the return of Gobert, known as the “French Rejection,” who played a little less than 24 minutes but had 15 points and 13 rebounds, to go with two blocked shots in the 105-98 victory.
The presence of Gobert took some pressure off Derrick Favors, who had been playing in the pivot and was overworked, coming off his knee injury. Favors only had to log 24 minutes on Sunday, and he looked refreshed, scoring 17 points. The Jazz got a lot of production out of the reserves, with 66 bench points. And BetAnySports patrons know that with Griffin out, the Clippers are a little thin when it comes to frontcourt personnel to go along with DeAndre Jordan. Don’t disqualify the possibility that Jordan could get “hacked” in this game as well, as he is hitting only 44% of his free throws in the series.
Joe Ingles, the Australian import, has to be applauded for the way he has performed in this series. He had eleven assists on Sunday, and he leads Utah in that department during this series. He has also hit eight of his 20 attempts from three-point territory, and NBA bettors are aware that he was one of the best in the league when dialing long-distance this season.
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