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Jazz vs. Clippers Game 2 preview: A rested Kawhi Leonard, open looks and lineup changes — what to watch for tonight

Jazz aim to hold serve against Clippers as the two teams resume series in Salt Lake City

LA Clippers guard Paul George is charged with a foul as Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell drives during Game 1 in Salt Lake City.
LA Clippers guard Paul George is charged with a foul as Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell drives during Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, June 8, 2021.
Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

After a thrilling, 112-109 comeback win in Game 1, the Utah Jazz will look to defend home court against the Los Angeles Clippers once again Thursday night.

Here are three things the Jazz should watch out for in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals.

A rested Kawhi Leonard

Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard warms up before Game 1 of the team’s second-round NBA playoff series against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday, June 8, 2021, in Salt Lake City.
Rick Bowmer, Associated Press

After playing a grueling seven-game first-round series against Dallas with Game 7 taking place last Sunday, the Clippers had to travel to Salt Lake City on Monday and play at altitude in Game 1 on Tuesday. Needless to say they didn’t really have a lot left in the tank.

Kawhi Leonard was slow to get involved on the offensive end and didn’t show much aggression on the defensive end. But, Leonard is not going to be sluggish in every game and I’d expect him to come out well rested and ready to put up more of a fight in Game 2.

Open shots

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) shoots over LA Clippers guard Reggie Jackson (1) during Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, June 8, 2021.
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell shoots over LA Clippers guard Reggie Jackson during Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, June 8, 2021.
Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

The Jazz had a really uncharacteristic first quarter on Tuesday, missing 21 consecutive shots and shooting 17.9% from the field. The Jazz were generating a lot of open looks and getting good shots, they just weren’t falling.

It is not likely that they have consecutive performances of that nature and the Clippers aren’t going to want the Jazz to have as many open looks either, so they’ll probably clamp down on their perimeter defense, which means open shots will be an even hotter commodity than they were in Game 1. The Jazz need to take the shots when they are there and avoid hesitating.

Lineup changes

LA Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue talks with Rajon Rondo during Game 1 of a second-round playoff series against the Utah Jazz Tuesday, June 8, 2021, in Salt Lake City. Jazz fans shouldn’t be surprised to see Lue experiment with his lineup Thursday.
Rick Bowmer, Associated Press

Ty Lue was doing a bit of rotation experimentation in Game 1, but will probably have a bit more of a plan for Game 2. The Jazz need to be prepared and ready to adapt and adjust because Lue is not the type of coach that likes to keep things consistent.

The Clippers might throw a number of different lineups and coverages at the Jazz and the Jazz need to be ready to make their own changes on the fly to counter the punches the Clippers throw.

Game 2 between the Jazz and Clippers tips off at Vivint Arena at 8 p.m. MDT on ESPN.