NBA Preseason: Utah Jazz (1-0) at Portland Trail Blazers (0-2) Game Preview

Portland, do you even lift? - Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE

NBA Preseason 2013-2014, Game 2:

Utah Jazz (1-0) at Portland Trail Blazers (0-2)

Blazers Edge (SB Nation) -- Behind Enemy Lines (MyLo) -- Preview (duh) -- Game Thread (hang on...)

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The Basics:

Tonight the loyal Jazz fans in Boise, Idaho will get a chance to see the Blazers and Jazz play. It's technically a road game for the Jazz, but we know who the crowd will mostly be cheering for. This will be the Jazz' second preseason game of 2013-14 season, and the Blazers' third. The game starts in 2 hours, and I do not know of any official, legal, way to watch the game. Of course, you don't have to have tickets in the first row to be able to watch sports in the internet era. I will state, however, that you shouldn't do anything illegal. Ever.

Anyway, the Blazers are supposed to be a playoff team but so far have failed to launch. They lost twice at home, once to the Los Angeles Clippers, and the second game against the Phoenix Suns. Their head coach has sat out LaMarcus Aldridge, Mo Williams, Nicolas Batum, and others from games. Probably because the preseason really means nothing. So let's not get cocky just yet.

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Recent History:

Last season the Jazz went 3-1 against the Blazers (W 86-77 , L 99-105 , W 105-95 , W 112-102), and the season before the Jazz went 4-0. It's been one sided of late, but let's pause to recognize that there are a lot of differences between those teams and the two teams playing tonight.

We're aware of our massive turn over, but let's not forget that the Blazers are bringing in some new faces as well. Most importantly, to me, is that they have Robin Lopez. Dude is a traditional bigman banger, he defends the low post, gets offensive rebounds, and you can't take a break when he's on the floor. He's the "right" kind of big to pair up with multiple time All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge who doesn't do any of the dirty work (manicures are expensive, brah) and has shown me nothing in his career. For his career he averages 18 and 8, which is good, last year he was up to 21 and 9. I'm still not impressed because for his career against the Jazz he shoots 47% on his way to 20 and 7 numbers. For whatever reason he just doesn't board against the Jazz, and as an All-Star bigman, I look down upon him for that. Matt Harpring used to average 6 boards a game off the bench, and this guy is getting 7? Ouch.

It's not just the LaMarcus and Robin show though, they have a TON of guys who need the ball in their hands to be useful in Damian Lillard, rookie C.J. McCollum, and Mo Williams. The rub against the Blazers last season was that their bench sucked (which will be the rub against us this season it appears). They added depth, and Thomas Robinson is going to be interesting -- but overall I don't know if I like this roster.

I may just be biased because I'm still not over Terry Porter's absolute assassination of our team back in '92.

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Key Match-ups:

I don't really see our Pgs keeping up with theirs, but I do see Trey Burke continue to do the right thing out there on the court. The real key matchup for me has to be Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter vs. Aldridge and Lopez. I think our guys can win that battle, especially if we are aggressive early. I think Aldridge is a pussycat.

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Injuries:

I don't know of any serious ones besides Brandon Rush and Marvin Williams that matter for the Jazz. The Blazers are already without C.J. -- which is funny. When we shared an elevator together at the NBA Draft I told him not to go to Portland, he'd get injured. It was a joke. Jokes on him, I guess.

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Somewhat bold prediction:

It's a close game, and Terry Stotts tries to get his first win of the preseason -- but is not able to. We beast them because their best player is a tall small forward who can't dribble but called an All-Star.

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