So..... last week the Utah Jazz did go 2-2 (wins against the Toronto Raptors and Orlando Magic, after losses to the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers). That's precisely what I anticipated, and I'm happy we got it done. Let's take a look at this week:
December Week 2:
- Sunday, December 9th: Utah Jazz @ Los Angeles Lakers
- Wednesday, December 12th: San Antonio Spurs @ Utah Jazz
- Friday, December 14th: Utah Jazz @ Phoenix Suns
- Saturday, December 15th: Memphis Grizzlies @ Utah Jazz
I predicted that the Jazz would go 2-2 during this stretch as well, and with one game in the books, I'm not going to be too hasty with changing my answer. The San Antonio Spurs are still one of the best teams in the game today, and they are getting great production all around (freaking Gary Neal had 29 points in their last game!). The Phoenix Suns look to be the only easy game this week, and while they aren't a great team this season -- you can't take any team for granted this year. Especially not after we LOST to the New Orleans Hornets once this year. The last game this week is at home hosting the Grizz. This will be the 2nd night of a back to back for us, and the 3rd game in four nights. It's at home, but it's against a better team than we are.
Let's look at the other side of the coin, shall we? The Spurs will be playing the first game of a back to back set against us, playing the next night against the Portland Trail Blazers. Phoenix is free on both nights before and after our game. And Memphis will ALSO be playing their 3rd game in four nights and the second game of a back to back, having played against the Denver Nuggets the night before. So our easiest schedule game is against a team that will have the most rest -- while the true challenge for us will be at the end of the week when two tired teams face off.
The Spurs are a great team but not a team we should fear. We don't fear the Los Angeles Lakers and are 2-0 against them this year. We had a great comeback against the Spurs on their court in November and that game was closer than expected. Tomorrow's game should also be close. I still think we lose that one, because of flops and refs. Seriously. Manu Ginobili will play, you know what I mean.
Phoenix are in a tailspin right now with Channing Frye out for the entire season, and Goran Dragic questionable for their game tomorrow against Memphis -- will he play tonight? Will he be available for Friday against the Jazz? The second blowout we had this year was against Phoenix at home. This game will be in their gym, where they are 5-5. I'm not really afraid of a Luis Scola / Michael Beasley led squad -- and Goran Dragic gets absolutely hammered when he plays us. It's clearly in his head now, even if Derrick Favors is not back you know it will affect him. We almost HAVE to win this game.
Memphis is the only real question mark this week. If we're the "no fear" Jazz we take them easily. If we're the "yes, fear please." Jazz then it's not going to look good. The Grizz are 14-4 right now and have legit size to bang against us. Marc Gasol is 7'1, Zach Randolph is 6'9 -- which is +3" and +1" compared to our starters Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap. They have Marreese Speights (6'10), Darrell Arthur (6'9), and Hamed Haddadi (7'2) off the bench. These are big bears, and none of them are hurt. And they are fantastic at keeping the other team off the boards.
It's not going to be an easy game, and I'm going to say we get our second home loss of the season that night. I'll be more than happy to be wrong about this, but I have the Jazz finishing the week 2-2.
What do you think?