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Looking Ahead - 15 November 2010

Coaches are pretty good at keeping their teams focused on the the next game and not looking ahead. That doesn't apply to fans though. So let's take a look at the upcoming games this week for the Jazz

Monday, November 15, Thunder @ Jazz

The Thunder are definitely not where everyone thought they would be. They just got clobbered last night in the fourth quarter by the Spurs and now stand at 5-4 on the year. On one hand, that was their schedule in their first nine games last season before they got going and went on a tear on February and March on their way to 50 wins. They're definitely capable of that.

What's been most surprising though is that their defense has been terrible. Even while they were 5-4 last season, they were playing decent D. Right now, they're ranked 29th in the league, giving up 111 points per 100 possessions. Giving up 117 last night to San Antonio isn't going to help that number.

The offense hasn't been anything to write home about either. They're shooting just 44% as a team while managing just 23% from three. That's 10 percentage points lower than their past two seasons from the arc.

They have done us a favor though and have taken out the Blazers twice. The Jazz of course won their first unexpected game of the season as they went into OKC and dominated the Thunder on their way to an improbably 120-99 win.

The Jazz will need to take advantage of the Thunder having played last night. Let's hope they have a duplicate performance here and get out to a good start.

SBN Blog - Welcome to Loud City

Wednesday, November 17, Nets @ Jazz

The Nets on the other hand are right about where they were expected to be. They're not as terrible as they've been the past few years but they're still rebuilding. They're rumored to still be in the mix for Carmelo Anthony but who knows if that will happen.

They're 3-6 with wins over the Kings and Pistons to start the season and their latest win over Cleveland. They nearly topped the Magic, losing 91-90 and were close on a couple of other games.

They've struggled on offense this season. This should be a win the Jazz get at home but they could get a run from the Nets.

SB Blog - Nets Daily

Friday, November 19, Spurs @ Jazz

This will be the biggest game of the week. The Spurs are 8-1 after taking out the Thunder last night. Their only loss was against the still undefeated New Orleans Hornets.

They're officially my walking dead team. Every year they're supposed to be dead. They're getting older... Tim Duncan is losing it... They're trying to dump players... etc., etc. Yet every year their contenders and keep pulling off shrewd moves to keep the team together.

Richard Jefferson comes back from the dead. Manu Ginobili returns to form. Tim Duncan keeps plugging along. When Duncan finally hangs them up and Popovich steps down, maybe, just maybe you can't count them out. Until then, they're always going to be there.

What's been most surprising about them this season is that their offense so far is the best it's ever been in the Duncan era. That's a scary prospect given that they've always been an above average defensive team, if not one of the best.

By the time they get into town on Friday, they will have played just one more game against Chicago on Wednesday at home. So there won't be much of an advantage there.

SB Blog - Pounding the Rock

Saturday, November 20, Jazz @ Blazers

The big story from Portland right now is Brandon Roy. More specifically, his knees are the story. He's already had surgery on both of them, the last being on his right knee in April. Two years ago, his left knee underwent the knife to remove some cartilage that was causing a problem.

It was reported by Jason Quick that Roy was experiencing quite a bit of swelling on his left knee and that he was clearly losing a step and being hobbled by it.

Then, in the game against New Orleans, he pulled himself out of the game after a routine play citing discomfort. Most of the word on this sounds as if this is an issue that isn't going to get better. He's playing bone on bone right now and has to get shots most night to play through the pain.

The fact that he might never be the same player he was before is devestating if you're an NBA fan and even worse so as a Portland fan. Even a casual fan of the game is aware of the injury issues that the Blazers have had with Oden, Pryzbilla, Williams, and now Roy. On the other hand though, they drafted those players with the knowledge of their pre-existing injuries. So while it might be self-inflicted in part, their run of injuries has been remarkable.

So Roy is questionable Tuesday when they take on Memphis. Wesley Matthews should get some more minutes if Roy is not able to go. After that, they come back home to take on the Nuggets.

So what team will we see on Saturday? Who knows? They could have another injury (though I'm not asking for one) by then. Safe to say though, the team likely won't be the one we thought we would be playing for the next 5-10 years.

This will be the second of a back to back for the Jazz after having played a tough game against the Spurs. No matter how that turns out, and no matter what the roster looks like for the Blazers, you know they're going to give the Jazz all they have. It should be a close game regardless.

SB Blog - Blazersedge