NBA Regular Season Game #22:
Sacramento Kings (4-13) @ Utah Jazz (4-17)
Cousins is a few personalities away from being able to drive in the car pool lane all night long
Part of me just wants to recite the old pastor's speech from "Mississippi Burning" . . . but I think I'll just link to the video instead. Essentially . . . I have no more love to give . . . I have only anger in my heart today! I'm kinda sick and tired of dumb rotations, dumb substitutions, and overall imbecilery from our coaches. I knew within a minute of looking at Portland's offense that they love to take and make threes. Was this not covered at all in the lead up to the game? We know the players didn't cover it though. So I'm also sick to death of these players doing stupid things on the court. From Kanter's double clutch jumpers and Burks' degree of difficulty finishes to Lucas' bricks and Rush's turn overs. Our team isn't playing together, and our players aren't playing well.
The idea Jazz fans were sold on this year were losses, but close losses. The team would try hard and fight for one another. We haven't seen much of that this year, even in our wins. The Bill of Goods we were sold was one of the youth taking the necessary steps to get better and become future leaders of this franchise, instead we're seeing the youth not even get regular steps off of the bench. For many fans last night was a turning point -- even the most placid and 'wait and see' types were adamant about some of the necessary changes needed.
Change is needed in Utah. And we don't want to wait too long for the cancer to spread and infect other, currently functioning, parts of the healthy Jazz organism.
Well, tonight the Utah Jazz get to face off against a team that's almost as bad as they are. Utah is #15 in the West, and Sacramento is #14. The Jazz have a 4-17 record, and are 3-12 against the West. The Kings have a 4-13 record, and are also 3-12 against the West. The Jazz are 3-7 at home, and the Kings are 1-4 on the road. Ostensibly, this is a much more equal matchup for the Jazz than their previous two games: against the East leading Indiana Pacers, and then the West leading Portland Trail Blazers.
The Kings have lost 6 games in a row and are 2-8 in their last 10. They are coached by Mike Malone, who is in his first year and is sporting a winning percentage of 23.5%. As a team they have one of the worst defenses out there (28th in DRTG -- 108.0 / 100.0), and they don't really challenge shots at all -- they are 29th in opponents eFG% (52.3%).
The Jazz have lost only 2 games in a row, but are not much better, 3-7 in their last 10. We're coached by Tyrone Corbin, in his fourth year, and has a winning percentage of 46.2%. Ty did start his first season with a 28.6 winning %. The Jazz also spot one of the worst defenses out there (29th in DRTG -- 110.2 / 100.0), but the real force multiplier here is that the Jazz also have one of the worst offenses as well (#28 in PPG: 91.5; #27 in ORTG -- 99.4 / 100.0). The Jazz relentlessly send teams to the line, and are the second worst defensive rebounding club out there. (Glad to know we keep Gobert anchored to the bench, all of the metrics suggest that a dude who averages 9.6 DREB per 36 and has a 32.7 DRB% should stay on the bench when you are #29 as a team in it.) (Sorry for the numbers game, Tyrone.)
Both teams are missing key rotation players right now. The Kings are without free agent steal Carl Landry; and the Jazz are without Marvin Williams. Ironically, I could have seen both guys match up against one another had they been active.
This game is at home for the Jazz, and both teams played last night. Tonight is the second night of the back to back for both, but in addition to that, it's the 3rd game in four nights for our Jazz. The Jazz are 93-77 against the Sacramento Kings in the regular season. This All-Time mark looks even better when focused on just the Jazz playing at home, where we hold a commanding 61-24 regular season advantage. But with injuries, coaches, travel time, fatigue, and where the game is played I'd have to say that neither team really has the intangible edge right now.
It's going to come down to players and the main match-up is going to be between Cousins and Favors. It pains me to admit that Cousins is having a monster year, and his USG% really shows that he's the main man for them. A sideshow will be how Trey matches up against someone smaller and faster than him in Isaiah. If we can win these two head to head matchups I feel confident in the rest of our core helping the team get it done against their group.
Kings Player Stats:
Jazz Player Stats:
|7||John Lucas III||1||18||20.6||5.7||1.3||1.6||0.7||2.3||0.3||0.0||6.5||16.0%||12.3%||3.6%|
At the end of the day, we're not going to beat any team with how we played against the Blazers last night. Our old Jazz teams responded to butt kickings by coming out with some fire and obliterating the next team they faced. I miss that toughness in this squad. (When does Mad Dog Marvin come back?) How we respond tonight will go a long way towards establishing our personality as a team. If we buckle early is this an indication that we've tuned the coaches out?
Ever the optimist I feel like we win tonight.