Utah Jazz matchup to watch: Rudy Gobert vs. DeAndre Jordan

Utah Jazz matchup to watch: Rudy Gobert vs. DeAndre Jordan

Jazz (34-21) vs. Clippers (33-21)

Today at 7 p.m.

Vivint Smart Home Arena

TV: ROOT Sports

After back-to-back losses to the Dallas Mavericks and the Boston Celtics, the Utah Jazz are back on the floor Monday night to square off with the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Clippers (33-21) are just a half-game behind the Jazz in the Western Conference standings. While still firmly in contention in the playoff race, Los Angeles has struggled of late, dropping 7 of 11 since starting point guard Chris Paul was sidelined after he tore a ligament in his thumb.

Even without their backcourt star, the Clippers are loaded with top-level talent in Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. While Griffin has also missed significant time with injuries, Jordan has been the constant, playing all 54 games on his way to earning his first All-Star Game bid.

Jordan isn’t your typical NBA All-Star, however. He isn’t a premier scorer who will wow you with his dazzling array of offensive moves. While he is very efficient on the offense end — he averages 12.2 points on 69.4 percent shooting — it is what he does on the backboards and on defense that brings his value.

He is one of the elite rebounders in the game averaging 13.7 rebounds, including 3.6 on the offensive end. He also is an impressive rim-protector who averages 1.7 blocks while altering many others.

Utah’s stellar rebounding center Rudy Gobert will be the one trying to keep Jordan off the glass. Gobert is in the middle of his most productive season as he is averaging 13 points, 12.6 rebounds and a league-leading 2.5 blocks.

While Gobert is proving to be one of the best centers in the game, he hasn’t had much luck against Jordan. The two have matched up eight times with Jordan and the Clippers holding a 7-1 record.

The key in those games has been on the backboards where Jordan has outrebounded Gobert 12.4 to 6.1. While Jordan has won the rebounding battle it is what he has does on the offensive backboards that Gobert must limit.

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Jordan takes 87.5 percent of his shots from 3 feet and in, according to Basketball-reference.com, with most of those touches come from lobs and offensive rebounds. He shoots 69.9 percent on those shots. While it’s difficult to do, if Gobert can keep Jordan off the offensive glass and force him to try to score from outside of 3 feet, then Jordan’s shooting percent plummets to 46.7 percent.

If all else fails and Jordan gets the ball in close, it just makes sense for Gobert to put him on the foul line. Even though Jordan is nearly automatic shooting the ball from in close, his free-throw shooting is a different story. He is a 43 percent career free-throw shooter who has connected on 50.5 percent of his 279 attempts so far this season.

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Published at Mon, 13 Feb 2017 19:30:00 +0000