UTAH JAZZ

Jazz Clarkson Wears Lakers Kobe Jersey Before Facing Clippers

Jun 8, 2021, 12:47 PM | Updated: 1:17 pm
Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson wearing a Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers jersey (Photo: KSL Sports)...
Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson wearing a Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers jersey (Photo: KSL Sports)
(Photo: KSL Sports)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – It didn’t take long for the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Clippers Western Conference Semifinals series to become personal. Jazz coach Quin Snyder hinted at a perceived slight from the Clippers peculiar close to the regular season while Jordan Clarkson wore a Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant jersey ahead of game one.

While the Jazz opening-round series against the Memphis Grizzlies felt relatively cordial, it now feels as though the gasoline has already begun to drip onto the fire before facing the Clippers in game one.

During the team’s pregame shootaround, Snyder made a nod to the Clippers late-season tanking in hopes of avoiding the Lakers in the second round, setting up a semifinals matchup with the Jazz.

“Obviously, we’re a matchup that the Clippers felt like was an advantageous matchup for them,” Snyder said.

With just four days left in the regular season, the Clippers owned the fourth-seed in the Western Conference with two games left against the lowly Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Had the Clippers won both games, they could have found themselves playing the crosstown rival Lakers in either the first or second round.

Rather than risk facing the defending champions, the Clippers tanked their final two games, setting up a first-round matchup with the Dallas Mavericks and a second-round series with the Jazz.

The plan nearly backfired when the Clippers needed seven games to beat the Mavericks to advance out of the first round.

But, if the Jazz feel slighted by the Clippers targeting them in a second-round matchup, the Clippers will almost certainly take Clarkson’s pregame apparel personally when the two teams face off Tuesday night.

Clarkson wore a number eight Kobe Bryant Lakers jersey, representing both the Clippers’ most bitter rival and the team they worked diligently to avoid in the playoffs.

“If they was losing games trying to come play us, that’s the fate they chose,” Clarkson said. “We’re going to come out there and lace them up and win the series, first one to four.”

While the Jazz have had five days off to prepare for their second-round matchup, the Clippers faced a quick turnaround.

After eliminating the Mavericks in game seven on Sunday, the Clippers found themselves in Utah on Monday with game one tipping off tonight.

Game one between the Jazz and Clippers will be broadcast on TNT at 8 pm MT.

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Jazz Clarkson Wears Lakers Kobe Jersey Before Facing Clippers