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NBA Preseason 2014: Utah Jazz host Portland Trail Blazers, hope to show defense first attitude at home

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PRESEASON GAME 1#PORatUTA7:00 PM MT at the ESAOn ROOT sports, and I presume, the regular radio stations

Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE

NBA Preseason Game 1:

#PORatUTA

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Overview:

This is the first preseason game for both teams this season. Last season the Portland Trail Blazers won 54 games, and the Jazz won 25. These are two teams both going up in the world, but the Blazers have booster rockets and are looking to do better than their their 2nd round outing in the playoffs last season -- and our Jazz are just trying to get off the ground.

Portland re-loaded for depth, and the Jazz hope to finally have the group of guys they want to work with all together under a coach who actually wants to play them.

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Players to Watch:

Damian Lillard is amazing, and will be hard for Trey Burke or Dante Exum to handle one-on-one. But you know what? I want our young guys learning from getting beat by the best, not by getting DNP-CDs. So bring it on. Portland's bigman rotation is going to crash the glass all night long and never quit on plays -- LaMarcus Aldridge, Thomas Robinson, Robin Lopez, and Chris Kaman are going to make Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Jeremy Evans, Trevor Booker, Rudy Gobert, and company work for it.

I guess we should watch out scrubs too -- they are auditioning for a role with not just the Utah Jazz but also the Idaho Stampede. Dahntay Jones has the most to gain and most to lose.

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Marquee Match-up:

Obviously this Nicolas Batum against Gordon Hayward. Both guys are killers when their games are on -- when they aren't, well, they can be a little passive. The big difference here is that Batum is their third (or on a given night fourth) best player. For the Jazz, well, Hayward is our best (paid) player.

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Prediction:

Two hard fouls by Rudy Gobert, and I don't care what the score of this game is.

GO JAZZ GO!