Utah Jazz: Match-up to watch during Jazz vs. Clippers

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 21: Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz drives to the basket during a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on October 21, 2017 at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 21: Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz drives to the basket during a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on October 21, 2017 at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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The Utah Jazz face off against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night, and the match-up to watch is going to be between Rudy Gobert and DeAndre Jordan.

Tuesday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers should be entertaining for a number of factors. One, who doesn’t like the opportunity to beat a team from L.A., in L.A.? Two, this is the first time these two teams will meet since the Utah Jazz defeated the Clippers in the first round of the playoffs last season. Three, just like our first three match-ups of the season, we are once again facing off against a team that we will likely be fighting for a spot in the playoffs against.

There are going to be a number of intriguing match-ups to watch during this game, but none more interesting than Rudy Gobert versus DeAndre Jordan.

In NBA circles, the debate between who is better between Rudy Gobert and DeAndre Jordan is a common one. Both have very similar profiles and playing styles. Their offense is fairly limited to scoring off of lobs or rolls to the basket and put backs off of offensive rebounds. Both are intimidating defensive presences who have the athleticism and length to protect the basket with the best of them.

Last season, the debate heightened as Jordan was selected by the coaches to participate in the All-Star game over Gobert. Even at the time it seemed like a travesty, as Gobert and Jordan had similar per game numbers for points and rebounds, but Gobert exceeded Jordan in blocks, and in almost every advanced metric, both offensive and defensive.

After the All-Star Game, Gobert played like a man with something to prove, and greatly outplayed Jordan the rest of the way. He averaged 16.7 points, 13.1 rebounds, and three blocks per game.

So who has the edge this season and in Tuesday’s match-up? Let’s take a look at each of them individually, and then we’ll make our pick.

Rudy Gobert

Early in the season, Rudy Gobert has been just as dominant as ever. He has looked to be more involved in the offense during the post-Hayward era, and is running more pick n’ rolls than ever with Ricky Rubio. The Rubio-Gobert combo has already proven to be effective, but even they have admitted that they have room to get even better as they grow more comfortable with each other.

Which should excite Jazz fans, as Gobert is averaging 14.7 points and 12 rebounds per game this season.

Gobert is still having his traditional effect on the defensive end as well, as teams are hesitant to drive the lane while he is protecting the paint. Throughout the course of any game, you will routinely see opponents drive the lane, only to quickly run through or pass the ball out when they meet Gobert. Or, they will attempt to finish over or around him, which is much easier said than done.

DeAndre Jordan

With Chris Paul now playing for the Houston Rockets, the Clip show is being run by Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. It is only two games, and they have played the Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Lakers, but Jordan is off to a solid start, averaging 10 points and 18.5 rebounds per game. While those are impressive numbers, he has also yet to register a block in the first two games of the season.

The biggest area of concern for the Clippers and DeAndre Jordan, is how will Jordan perform in the post-Chris Paul era? Paul and Jordan had a terrific connection, and a large majority of Jordan’s points came off of Chris Paul assist.

So far this season, his scoring has been down; going from 12.7 points, to 10 points. His field goal percentage is also drastically down; going from 71 percent, to 53 percent. Against an atrocious Phoenix Suns team, he only scored 6 points on 5 shot attempts. Chris Paul consistently put Jordan is positions to score with ease, and so far this season, we are seeing that his absence may have the largest impact on Jordan.

While the Clippers have won their first two games of the season, outside of Jordan’s ability to swallow up rebounds, he has not looked as dominant as Gobert. If Milos Teodosic was not currently out indefinitely due to injury, Jordan may look like his old self. Until he returns, expect his offense to continue to struggle.

Who wins this match-up?

Gobert gets the edge in this one. The Jazz already appear to have integrated their new pieces nicely into their lineup, and the Rubio to Gobert connection is only looking better and better. Gobert has always appeared to raise his level of competition when facing off against All-star bigs, and I expect that he will look to prove that he is the better player in this match-up.

Next: 10/24 Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Clippers: Keys to the Game

I expect the Jazz to get the victory as the Clippers struggle in their first real challenge of the season, and Gobert is going to be the difference maker in this one.

Gobert: 18 points, 12 rebounds, 2 blocks

Jordan: 11 points, 14 rebounds, 2 blocks