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The challenge of the Clippers: Quin Snyder explains what awaits the Jazz in Round 2

Los Angeles Clippers forward Marcus Morris Sr. (8) and guard Paul George (13), right, congratulate forward Kawhi Leonard (2) after they defeated the Dallas Mavericks in Game 6 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series in Dallas, Friday, June 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth) [Jun-04-2021]

Los Angeles Clippers forward Marcus Morris Sr. (8) and guard Paul George (13), right, congratulate forward Kawhi Leonard (2) after they defeated the Dallas Mavericks in Game 6 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series in Dallas, Friday, June 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth) [Jun-04-2021] (Michael Ainsworth, Associated Press)



SALT LAKE CITY — "How much time do you have?"

That was Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder's response when asked about the challenges the Los Angeles Clippers present in the second round.

The Memphis Grizzlies were a fun upstart bunch the Jazz eventually overpowered. The Clippers? They are in championship-or-bust mode.

Here are some of the challenges the Jazz will face against the Clippers.

Kawhi Leonard: A two-time Finals MVP, fresh off rescuing the Clippers' season by averaging 32.5 points on 61% shooting. He's one of the best defenders in the game and can score at all three levels. Royce O'Neale will have a tall task defending him. And if the Clippers keep five shooters on the court, then Rudy Gobert might not be as impactful helping contain Leonard when he drives.

Paul George: The multi-time All-Star had his best shooting season of his career (though he struggled from deep in the first round win over Dallas, hitting on just 30% on over seven attempts per game). The "Playoff P" jokes are there for a reason, but George is still one of the best two-way wings in the game.

Depth: The Clippers rely heavily on a few players — namely Leonard and George — but Snyder didn't discount the depth. He mentioned Patrick Beverly and Nicolas Batum's defense; Marcus Morris who allows them to alter how they play; Terance Man, who scored 13 points in LA's Game 7 win on Sunday; Luke Kennard, who hit three 3s in the series-deciding win; and it could get even better depending on if Serge Ibaka can get back healthy sometime during the series.

"You're familiar with those two guys (Leonard and George), obviously, and the things that they're capable of doing," Snyder said. "I think sometimes, because they're such great players. There's a tendency not to talk as much just naturally about some of the other guys on their team."

3-point shooting: While the Jazz were the most prolific deep shooting team this season (and in history), the Clippers were the most accurate. LA hit 41% from 3 on a not-very-shy 34.7 attempts to lead the NBA.

"They're able to put five guys out there that can all make shots, and then they have other guys who can create shots," Snyder said. "There's a lot of things that go into that, you're going to end up giving something up."

Versatility: As many as 11 Clippers played rotation minutes sometime during their first round series win over the Mavs. It was a team searching for answers as they went down 2-0 and 3-2 in the series. They eventually found some.

"They can play small, which they've done a lot against Dallas; they can play big, which we've seen before, too," Snyder said.

When Morris plays at center, the Clippers have a shooter at every position and can also switch nearly everything on defense (Utah's Achilles' heel in the past).

"You're not gonna be able to take everything away, you just have to a certain degree, play percentages, try to make things hard," Snyder said.

Matchups: On paper, the Clippers might be the team to best stop the Jazz's prolific shooting. Utah uses a lot of screens and motion to generate their open looks — something that has only really been affected by switching defense. With certain lineups, LA will be able to switch one through five.

"The playoffs I won't say come down only to matchups, but certainly matchups are a big part of it," Snyder said. "And you're going to have what you consider to be better matchups than others, but hopefully we have some advantages there at certain places as well."

Rest vs. Rust: The Jazz will have six days rest coming into Tuesday's Game 1; the Clippers, meanwhile, will have 2.5 days to prepare after a seven-game series. It's a similar situation the Jazz were in entering their first round series against Memphis — the Grizzlies had played two games to get into the playoffs while Utah rested. The Grizzlies ended up winning Game 1.

"I thought we didn't have quite the level of continuity that we wanted in that first game, so that cuts both ways," Snyder said. "Sometimes timing and continuity and rhythm can trump rest."

Utah vs. Los Angeles Clippers

Game 1: Tuesday at Utah, 8 p.m., TNT

Game 2: Thursday at Utah, 8 p.m., ESPN

Game 3: Saturday at Los Angeles, 6:30 p.m., ABC

Game 4: Monday, June 14, at Los Angeles, TBD, TNT

*Game 5: Wednesday, June 16 at Utah, TBD, TNT

*Game 6: Friday, June 18 at Los Angeles, TBD, ESPN

*Game 7: Sunday, June 20 at Utah, TBD

*If necessary

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