Arguably the biggest storyline of the 2021 NBA playoffs has been injuries to All-Star caliber players – the latest being to Brooklyn's Kyrie Irving on Sunday. For Game 4 of the Jazz-Clippers series in Los Angeles on Monday night, Utah is likely to again be without All-Star point guard Mike Conley due to a hamstring issue (listed questionable), but leading scorer Donovan Mitchell will play through an ankle issue. The Clippers are 5-point favorites on the William Hill Sportsbook NBA odds to even the series 2-2.
Conley has yet to play in this series with what is being called a mild hamstring strain. No doubt the Jazz would ideally not play him at all this series if they could still advance and then have him ready for the Western Conference Finals against the Phoenix Suns, who swept Denver on Sunday. The Clippers obviously may not comply with that scenario.
Mitchell missed the final 16 games of the regular season and the first of these playoffs with an injured right ankle and left the Utah's 132-106 Game 3 blowout. Mitchell limped off the court after a driving layup attempt with seven minutes, five seconds remaining. He says he'll be "fine" and will play Monday but will Mitchell be 100 percent? He's averaging 32.3 points in the postseason, which is No. 3 among all players. Mitchell is set at Over/Under 32.5 points for Game 4 with the Under a slight -120 favorite.
On the updated series line, Utah is -190 and the Clippers +160. The favored exact result is Jazz in seven games at +260, while the long shot is Clippers in six at +425.
Los Angeles is 2-0 in these playoffs when both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George score at least 30 points as they did in Game 3. Leonard is set at 28.5 points for Monday and George 25.5 points.
Coach Ty Lue made a change to his starting lineup in Game 3, going smaller with Nic Batum in the first five and Ivica Zubac coming off the bench. That forced three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert of the Jazz to defend a shooter on the perimeter. Not a coincidence that L.A. dominated points in the paint, 44-32, with Gobert not in there all day. Utah was minus-16 with Gobert on the court compared to plus-19 when he was on the court in the first two games.
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