Take note Jazz fans, a series win over the Los Angeles Clippers is not going to happen without your star big man.
The Utah Jazz’ starting center, Rudy Gobert suffered a hyper-extension and bone bruise to his left knee, only 11 seconds into Game 1. The game remained close, but the Jazz had to squeeze out with a sixth man performance and buzzer beater from Joe Johnson.
Moving on to Game 2, the Clippers prepared a different strategy, and attacked the paint. Without Rudy, the Jazz were vulnerable and unable to stop Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan.
The two big men for LA finished with 42 points and 20 rebounds over the Jazz. As a team, Utah was out-rebounded 60-38! Gobert’s status for Game 3 remains questionable, and I imagine it will be at least until Game 4 when he makes his return.
Playing a team with dominant big men without an opposing center doesn’t make for a high win probability (just ask Boston). To further my case, here’s a look at what kind of impact Gobert has had across the league:
|Field Goal %||66%||2nd|
Gordon Hayward, George Hill, and even Joe Johnson can make up for the scoring, but the Clippers will simply match with Paul, Reddick, and Crawford. Should Gobert have remained healthy, the Jazz had a chance to clear this series in six games.
Now without him, they might make Game 7. Head coach Quin Snyder is going to have get creative with his play making because they need an answer, and they need it quick.
There’s still hope for the Utah Jazz, and I’m confident they can rebound from this (no pun intended). Stretching the floor more, and relying on different scoring options can give them a chance to get back in this.
All stats and information provided by ESPN and NBA.com. Featured image provided by Standard-Examiner via Google Images.