I am becoming increasingly more interested in where fans of certain teams live. And the Utah Jazz, tonight hosting the Portland Trail Blazers, are both smaller market teams tucked away with fan bases in the North West quadrant of the continent. For reals.
So this game tonight will be the battle for swing state Idaho. Or it could actually be a less important game than that. The Utah Jazz are 67-18 against the Blazers in Utah all-time; however, they are a much closer 94-77 overall. Utah played Portland twice in February, and split those two games, taking the second. That snapped a five game skid to the Blazers. They are a good team fighting for a Top 4 seed in the West. There are two games remaining against them as well, so it's not going to be easy -- tonight still means something.
In fact, it's going to be hard for both teams. The Blazers have lost five games in a row, played last night, and will be without Wesley Matthews and Chris Kaman. LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum are both listed as questionable. The Jazz are 7-3 in their last 10, and playing pretty well at home -- but dropped a "gimmie" against the T-Wolves on Monday. Tonight they will be without Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks and Rodney Hood. Yikes.
A double yikes when you realize the Jazz will try to win with their inside game + whatever their point guards Dante Exum and Trey Burke can do. No disrespect to Joe Ingles and Elijah Millsap, but if Utah is going to win tonight it'll be because of the play of the non-wings.
Anything is possible . . .
- PG: Damian Lillard vs. Trey Burke
- SG: Arron Afflalo vs. Dante Exum
- SF: Nicolas Batum vs. Elijah Millsap
- PF: LaMarcus Aldridge vs. Derrick Favors
- C: Robin Lopez vs. Rudy Gobert
LETS GO JAZZ!