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Jazz shootaround: With first-round opponent set, Jazz peek ahead at Clippers

Published April 12, 2017 7:05 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Jazz still have something to play for in tonight's regular season finale. A win over the San Antonio Spurs and a Clippers loss to the Kings would give the Jazz home-court advantage in the opening round of the playoffs, which start this weekend.

But with their first-round open locked in, the Jazz have started to peek ahead to their matchup with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and the Clippers.

"It's natural that you kind of start to look at the playoffs because things are set," Jazz forward Gordon Hayward said after shootaround Wednesday morning. "We're going to be playing them. I think some of the things that we may do tonight is trying to get ready for the Clippers, just team chemistry-wise, maybe some concepts that we might do out there."

Hayward (left quadriceps contusion), Derrick Favors (left knee soreness) and Rodney Hood (right knee soreness) are all expected to play against the Spurs, giving Quin Snyder the option to start his first-choice starting five for just the 14th time this season, and the first time since March 5.

"Part of it for us is being able to see some of those combinations tonight for the first time in a while," said Snyder, who added he would prefer to trade health and good basketball for the four-seed if he could. "In the end, health is the thing that's most important. If you're not healthy, it really doesn't matter what floor you're on. It's hard to win."

Home court, however, sure would be nice against a Clippers team that has given the Jazz fits this season. Utah went 1-3 against Doc Rivers' crew in the regular season, struggling to generate offense against the veteran Clips' physicality.

"Obviously they're a tough matchup because of how good they are as a team," Hayward said. "I think any matchup we would have had would have been tough because the West is so loaded and so competitive. That being said, I'm looking forward to the challenge and excited to be back in the playoffs. It's been a while."

— Aaron Falk






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