The chances of the Utah Jazz to beat the Denver Nuggets in their first round series in the NBA Western Conference Playoffs could get better if Fil-American guard Jordan Clarkson can keep his strong showing against the same team.
Clarkson averaged 24.0 points on .581 shooting percentage while hitting 14-of-24 triples in three games against the Nuggets during the regular season, stats he and the Jazz hope would continue once their best-of-seven series starts early Tuesday Manila time.
Denver, however, carries the psychological advantage after sweeping Utah in their three-game series in the regular season.
“It’s a good matchup. It’s the playoffs, everybody tunes up and really locks in,” said Clarkson as quoted by NBA.com. He will make the Playoffs for only the second time in his career.
“Every possession means something, so it’s going to be a good matchup for us. We’re going to go out there and compete and play hard, try to win this series. Take it one game at a time,” he added.
His best game against Denver came in late-January, dropping 24 of his season-high 37 points in the fourth quarter but Utah lost 106-100 on the road. He also hit 16 points in early-February, though the Jazz dropped another game to the Nuggets 98-95, this time in Salt Lake City.
In their only meeting against the Nuggets inside the bubble in Orlando, Clarkson fired 24 points spiked by five threes but the Jazz fell 134-132 in overtime.
The 28-year-old is hoping to make an impact for the Jazz after his first foray into the NBA postseason two years ago went awry.
As a teammate of LeBron James with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2018, Clarkson posted 4.7 points on a 30-percent clip in 19 playoff games. He appeared in Games 1 and 2 of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors but did not play in the final two games of the series.