In just a few moments the Utah Jazz will play host to the New Jersey Nets. Tonight’s game is more than just two teams that are supposed to end this season in the lottery slap-fighting one another for 48 minutes. This is not a normal game where a 5-1 team at home team is playing a 3-5 team on the road. This is, essentially, a game where a bunch of guys (namely Deron Williams and Mehmet Okur) are getting suited up and ready to play in the visitor’s locker room – when they should never have been traded away. That’s just my opinion though, it’s not usually that you trade away two Olympians and get better. Bitterness aside, this is a really exciting game. I’ve been waiting for and dreading this game as soon as the revised schedule came out. And it all starts soon. Let’s get going.
The Jazz and Nets are both pretty poor teams, it’s hard to say otherwise when you look at their relative point differentials. They are both negative numbers, which means they are getting outscored, regardless of their combined 9 wins this season. The Nets take and make a lot of threes – more than any other team. This is a strength of Deron’s drive and dish game – a game he enjoyed when playing here with Kyle Korver and Mehmet Okur. The Jazz are still an inside oriented team, and try their best to control the glass. The Nets are pretty good at getting their own misses, so that’s where the main point of conflict will be.
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This is the first meeting between these two teams this year. They will play another game later on, but it would be wrong to suggest that this game will go anywhere as previous ones will go. It’s still a feeling out stage for the Jazz, and the Nets have a bunch of injuries to deal with. What we see tonight is going to be a product of more enthusiasm than execution. It’ll be sloppy. Like prom night.
The Beats and the Rests:
Deron Williams isn’t shooting that well, but he’s still shooting better than Devin Harris. D-Will also does everything else better as well. That said, when Harris is in attack mode he has always killed Deron with his speed and elusiveness. Raja Bell did his best against Kobe Bryant a few nights ago, tonight he’ll do battle with a rookie Kobe-Wannabe in MarShon Brooks. Brooks is getting the playing time and time on the floor with better players that both Alec Burks (and years ago Morris Almond) never got. And he’s making the most of it. There’s many reasons to love this kid, one of them is his 7’1 wingspan (Ronnie Brewer’s wingspan was 6’11). Tonight a lot of Jazz fans will get to see (hopefully) some of what I saw in him, and made me so high on him. Rounding out the three point barrage for the starting Nets is Anthony Morrow. He’s not a big-name player, but is deadly from outside. He matches up against the much taller Gordon Hayward, who really need to have a bounce back game. Hayward is shooting very poorly, but dishing the rock. At some stage we’re going to need him to make some shots too. I’d say Morrow gets the edge right now because Deron will use him correctly, and Hayward is in a slump. Inside the paint the Jazz dominate. Kris Humphries is having a double-double season, but Mehmet Okur is shooting blanks from deep so far (1/7 last night), which severely limits his effectiveness. That said, he still has the range to deserve drawing out one of our bigs on defense. Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson should eat their lunch tonight. And their dinner. On the bench I have to give Josh Howard the advantage over Damion James, who is out indefinitely. I also give him the advantage over Shawne Williams or DeShawn Stevenson. Sundiata Gaines is playing well, but did not play last night. Earl Watson is passing the ball well, but is injured. I call this one a push. Lastly, Sheldon Williams will just be emasculated by Derrick Favors, you know, if our Coaches remember that Favors is on the team. Favors only played 11 minutes in our last game, a game that went to Overtime.
Deron Williams vs. Devin Harris. I used to hate this match-up as a Jazz fan, and now the shoe is on the other foot. I hope to see Devin in attack mode. We know that Deron is going to do this "Jaguar Paw" / Man on a mission thing tonight. They are the obvious headliners, everything else is just background when these two play.
Our dribble penetration defense could not handle the Nets at all. Now they have 5 of our former players, and they’ll similarly be disinclined to defend? No Brook Lopez means there’s no reason NOT to go into the paint. We know Memo isn’t going to send them back like he’s Dikembe Mutombo.
- Dennis Horner has a sprained left ankle and missed Friday’s game
- Damion Jones has a sprained right ankle and foot, and is out indefinitely
- Brook Lopez had right foot surgery and is still scheduled to miss a few weeks
- DeShawn Stevenson has a sore right knee, but played in Friday’s game
- Deron Williams has a sprained ankle, but played in Friday’s game
- Jeremy Evans is questionable with flu-like symptoms
- Earl Watson has a bone bruise on his left knee, and is a game time decision
- This is still Deron William’s house, unless he show him the door tonight.