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Utah Jazz vs. LA Clippers Game 6 preview: 3 things to watch for as Jazz face elimination

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell drives on LA Clippers forward Nicolas Batum during Game 5 of their NBA playoff series.
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) drives on LA Clippers forward Nicolas Batum (33) during Game 5 of their NBA playoff series in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. The Jazz lost 119-111. The availability of Mitchell and Mike Conley, who are both injured, is a key storyline for the Jazz as they face the Clippers in Game 6. Utah would be eliminated from the playoffs with a loss.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

The Utah Jazz will take on the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 6 in Los Angeles on Friday night in the Western Conference semifinal and in this one, the Jazz are facing elimination.

The Clippers lead the best-of-seven series 3-2, so if they win that’s the end of the road for the Jazz. Here are three of the biggest questions for the Jazz, heading into Game 6.

What will the Jazz get out of Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell?

The Jazz’s All-Star back court were both listed as questionable on Thursday and only upgraded and made available to play about 30 minutes prior to tipoff. So the question remains, what will the Jazz get out of them?

Conley hasn’t played in this series and has been sidelined for two weeks because of a right hamstring strain. He told reporters Wednesday that even if he comes back during the playoffs, he won’t be 100%. Mitchell clearly has clearly been hampered by his ankle injury and is frustrated by not being able to play the way he normally does. Can the two injured All-Stars provide enough for the Jazz to beat the Clippers?

Can the Jazz get solid contributions from their bench?

The Jazz are going to need to have strong outings from Joe Ingles, Jordan Clarkson and Bojan Bogdanovic in order to win Game 6, but they’re going to need even more than that.

Derrick Favors and Georges Niang have struggled to provide much, if anything on either side of the ball through the last three games. The Clippers know they have an advantage when Favors and Niang are on the floor, and they’ve taken advantage of those minutes, increasing leads and punishing the Jazz for their lack of defense. If the Jazz are going to win this game, the bench has to step up.

Will the Jazz match the Clippers’ intensity?

Throughout this series the Jazz have had issues with their effort and rising to the level of aggressiveness and desperation that the Clippers have played with.

The Jazz need to make a statement early in Game 6 that they aren’t going to go down without a fight. If the Jazz can dictate the pace of the game, match intensity, physicality and effort, they can win this game. But they’ll have to do it for the full 48 minutes and not just as a last ditch effort in the final quarter.

Game 6 tips off at Staples Center at 8 p.m. MDT on ESPN.