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Game Thread - Portland Trail Blazers @ Utah Jazz

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Figure I had better get something up early so that the BE crew will have a landing spot.

The Blazers are hurting right now. They're like we were last year with injuries, but probably worse. Here's the injury report from basketball-reference.com,

Injury Report

GlossaryCSVPRE
Player Date Type Note
Greg Oden 2009-12-06 left knee surgery will miss the remainder of the season
Travis Outlaw 2009-11-17 left foot surgery is expected to miss 3-5 months
Joel Przybilla 2009-12-24 right knee surgery will miss the remainder of the season
Brandon Roy 2010-01-22 strained right hamstring is expected to miss at least one week

We had our share of injuries last season and even a bit this season, so I'm not going to lose much sleep over Portland having players out; they're still a dangerous team.

If the Jazz are going to get a win in Portland for the first time in almost 4 years, this is as good as time as ever. We're playing the best basketball of the season right now including some big wins on the road. So if we have a chance, it's now.

The Blazers had been playing well despite the injuries. However, they've alternated wins and losses recently with their last game against the Hornets being a pretty heart-wrenching lost where they gave up a big lead late. Let's hope that W/L pattern doesn't continue tonight.

They're a very slow-paced team who are only scoring about 97 points a game. On defense they're giving up only 94 points; again though, they're a very slow-paced team. They're a slightly below average team defensively but on offense they are very efficient.

So if the past 8 games is any indicator for the Jazz, they should be able to score pretty well against the Blazers. Utah plays at a much higher pace and will try to force that on Portland.

This isn't going to be another Phoenix-type shootout, but if the Jazz are patient on offense and don't turn it over, they could pull out a win on the road. The other key will be to not let that Portland crowd get going early. It's taken the Jazz out of games pretty quickly in the past.

Division rivals. Should be a great game.