by Griffin Gamble | The Utah Jazz finished off the series against the Memphis Grizzlies Wednesday night in dominating fashion. The 47-point first quarter put them in control of the game and they never looked back. Donovan Mitchell looks like the player he was before the ankle injury, the shooters are making open threes, and Rudy Gobert looks like the clear favorite to win another Defensive Player of the Year. As the second round begins in the next few days, Jazz fans anticipate which team will be a better matchup – the Dallas Mavericks or the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Clippers and Mavericks are in a dogfight in the 4 vs. 5 matchup in the West. The road team has won all 5 games so far and, for the Clippers, it seems to be dejavu from last year’s disappointment. In the regular season the Jazz went 2-1 versus the Dallas Mavericks and did a relatively good job containing Luka Dončić. Not to mention that in the one loss they suffered back in April, Donovan Mitchell did not play. Against the Clippers this year, the Jazz also went 2-1 with these games played back in January and February, and all were close contests.
Some say the choice is clear: avoid the Clippers. Although it seems they still have not put all the pieces together and they might not even make it to the second round, they have the experience. A two-time Finals MVP in Kawhi Leonard, a two-time Finals winner in Raijon Rondo, Serge Ibaka has won and played well in the finals, and a coach who has also won a Finals matchup in which they came back down 3 games to 1. The Clippers also have a number of veterans on the team, and it would be a tough matchup for the Jazz.
The Dallas Mavericks have 22 year old phenom, Luka Dončić, who has arguably been the best player in this year’s playoffs so far. However, the Mavericks go as Dončić goes. In their game five win over the Clippers, Dončić scored or assisted on 31 of the 37 made field goals for the Mavs. It sounds easy but it’s not as easy as it sounds. If the Jazz can contain Dončić they won’t have much else to worry about offensively. The Jazz have shown the ability to play great team defense and the Mavs have shown major struggles defensively this year. They would not want to get in a shootout with the Jazz.
No matter what, the second round will be challenging. With fans on both sides of the debate, it will be interesting to see how the series pans out.
Featured image via Spenser Heaps, Deseret News