Game 37: Utah Jazz (18-19, 4-13 on the road) @ Charlotte Bobcats (5-31, 3-13 at home)
Tonight the Utah Jazz will play game 3 of their 5 game road trip. In a sick twist of fate, they'll be facing off against the Charlotte Bobcats who will be playing on the second night of a back to back, while the Jazz are rested. It will be an interesting game to follow, but probably a sloppy one to watch. The Jazz are #6 in lowest turn overs this season and the Bobcats are #5 -- however I don't really expect well tuned offenses tonight. (IF I'm wrong I'll gladly eat crow. Or Bobcat. Or whatever the animal is for this type of thing.)
Both teams run up and down the court at very middle of the road paces (#17 for CHA, #19 for UTA). The Bobcats score the least points per game in the league, 87.1 ppg, while giving up on average 100.7. We're a .500 team this season, but we also give up more points than we score on average. It's not a -13 disadvantage. But no playoff team (if the playoffs started tonight) from either conference has a negative point differential. What can we conclude from that?
What's going on with the Bobcats:
Charlotte is the worst team in the league. The next worst team in the league almost has twice as many wins as Charlotte does. The Bobcats are in super-duper tank mode . . . but they can't even get that right. They beat the Orlando Magic last night. Crazy. Previous to last night's win the Bobcats had gone for 1 win in their last 22 games. They still did win against a tough Orlando team. Do they have enough left in them for a winning streak?
Their main guns this year are Gerald Henderson (14.7 ppg, 13.5 FGA), Corey Maggette (15.2 ppg, 12.4 FGA), Kemba Walker (12.8 ppg, 12.1 FGA), and D.J. Augustin (12.2 ppg, 11.1 FGA). They are all wings and point guards. They don't get much scoring from Boris Diaw and Tyrus Thomas. So we should have a huge advantage inside. Though, rookie Bismack Biyombo nearly had a triple double last night (10 points, 15 rebounds, 7 blocks) against Dwight Howard.
We can't really hang with all their shoot first guards, however I think we should take care of business in the paint. Particularly on the glass, where the Charlotte Bobcats are 2nd LAST in the league in getting Rebounds (overall), and 23rd out of 30 in terms of giving up boards. Their failing to collect boards is precisely out strength, we're the 3rd best in the league at preventing the other team from getting boards. Hopefully Biyombo isn't going to get up for a repeat performance-o.
After the Jump -- What's going on with the Jazz:
What's going on with the Jazz:
The Jazz are facing a really bad team tonight, and while this would be a trap game, I doubt the Jazz are looking past the Bobcats. They have a back to back set (starting on the 9th -- two days from now) with the Philadelphia 76ers and Chicago Bulls. We can't afford to worry about those games when we have a perfectly winnable game in front of us. The Jazz are having an up and down season, a great example of this is how after losing 4 straight games the Jazz have won 3 of their last 4.
A big thing to watch out for will be the continued emergence of effective lineups. Tyrone Corbin has added age before beauty in the starting lineup: starting super doper vet Josh Howard and the back-from-injury Raja Bell. I think that it's not the worst decision ever. I did write about why it could be good for Gordon Hayward to play with the guys on the bench. The last game, @ the Cleveland Cavaliers, showed that Hayward can do a lot of damage if he's taking shots. That was perhaps something he was more hesitant to do on a lineup with a lot of veterans. (He has shot it that much before as a starter, but ideally, what's actually happening is a combination of what @Clintonite33 and @AllThatAmar are pointing out on twitter, and not one or the other)
I'd like to see Paul Millsap continue getting back to the level he left off when January ended. Tonight could be another step in the right direction for him. After all, Al Jefferson can't do it all by himself.
My lunch break is ending so this is all you get for now. As you can imagine, there will be a lot more posts to come later on today
Go Jazz Go!
Jazz vs Bobcats coverage