Utah Jazz matchup to watch: George Hill vs. Chris Paul

Utah Jazz matchup to watch: George Hill vs. Chris Paul

Jazz (41-25) vs. L.A. Clippers (40-26)

Today, 7 p.m.

Vivint Arena

TV: ROOT Sports

After a tough road loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Utah Jazz are back at home to square off against the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers are 40-26 on the season and just one game back of the Jazz for the fourth spot in the Western Conference playoff race.

The Clippers, winners of four of their last five, are rounding into form with the return of All-Star point guard Chris Paul. While suffering through an injury-plagued season that has forced him to miss 21 of the team’s 66 games, he is still one of the elite guards in the league when he’s on the floor. He is a pass-first point guard who is at his best when he’s finding Blake Griffin for easy buckets or throwing up lobs for DeAndre Jordan off the pick-and-roll.

Despite his injuries, Paul is still having an impressive season, averaging 17.6 points a game on 47.2 percent shooting from the floor, including a career-best 42.3 percent from beyond the arc. His also chips in with 9.3 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 2.1 steals in 31.3 minutes.

Paul has been a matchup nightmare for the Jazz since being traded to Los Angles as the Clippers have won 11 of their 12 matchups with him on the floor.

The responsibility of slowing him down rests on the shoulders of Utah’s own oft-injured point guard George Hill. Hill is putting up solid numbers in his first year with the Jazz, averaging 17.3 points on 41.2 percent shooting from beyond the arc with 4.2 assists and 3.3 rebounds in 39 games.

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Hill has had much more success against Paul and his teams then the Jazz have had in recent years, going 9-7 against him head to head, according to Basketball-reference.com.

One reason Hill has had some success against Paul — other than being on some great Spurs’ teams — is he has forced him to be more of a scorer than a facilitator. Granted, Paul is a gifted scorer, but his teams have more success when he is more of a playmaker.

Hill will need to do that same kind of thing for the Jazz to be successful tonight. He will have to force Paul into shooting contested midrange shots instead of connecting with Jordan and Griffin for dunks and easy buckets.

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Published at Mon, 13 Mar 2017 18:00:00 +0000