So here we are at game six of the 2016-2017 NBA Season, with the Utah Jazz (3-2) hosting the San Antonio Spurs (4-1). These two teams played earlier in the week, with the Jazz pulling off the surprising 106-91 upset in their gym. (recap) Since that game the Jazz flew home and played the second night of a back to back, beating the Dallas Mavericks (0-4). The Spurs have been idle since then and waiting for revenge. It's rare that you see a team beat the other team twice in a row, but that may be my own anecdotal memories talking. I think the Spurs shouldn't be taken lightly at all, after all they lead the Western Conference right now and would be the top seed if the playoffs started tomorrow. Their coaches and players may wish to brush off the loss on their home court as an aberration or fluke. So be it. Call it that. Hopefully after 48 minutes we can call this another Jazz win. Though, it's likely to be a Spurs win. They are the better team, small sample sizes aside.
I do not expect that it is going to be easy tonight. But no one expected the Jazz to win three of their last four games either. Expectations are meant to be challenged.
Okay, this is cool, Quin Synder is inching towards .500, which is a mark very few Utah Jazz head coaches get to. (#GetBetter #BeBetter Tyrone.) However, it's nothing compared to what Gregg Popovich has accomplished in the NBA (that 1.2k wins includes playoff performances). I guess it's easy to look good when you are handed a bunch of Hall of Famers, but still. Pop is amazing.
The Spurs are also amazing -- they are 4-1 and absolutely embarrassed the Golden State Warriors earlier this season. You figure that if it wasn't for the three point shooting (Jazz on fire, Spurs not) in the game a few nights back that they'd be 5-0? Maybe. These two teams play slowly, and both do it on defense. They control their defensive glass, they block shots, and they don't let the other team score that well. But that's kind of where the similarities end.
San Antonio is also a great offensive club, Utah is not right now. The Spurs don't turn the ball over much, the Jazz turn it over a lot. The Spurs get to the free throw line a lot, the Jazz kind of do as well. But this is going to be an interesting game again because of the previously mentioned strengths. It was strength vs. strength in the first game (where the Jazz won), but with something new thrown into it. (Three point agony for one team, and ecstasy for the other.)
What's going to happen tonight? Hopefully more of the same.
Wow, look at all the Spurs fans . . . in Nunavut?
The Spurs are going to be without Tony Parker tonight (rest? old? first game of a back-to-back set?), but that isn't a good thing for Utah right now. Patty Mills is balling, Parker isn't. Mills is going to start. Of course, their point guard depth isn't that great after Mills, Nicolas Laprovittola will caddy, and Dejounte Murry should get some run as well. No Tony Parker is one thing, but they'll continue to be without Danny Green. So no starting back-court for them. However, hubris speaking here, don't the Jazz have a better starting guard line now?
They will also continue to be without Davis Bertans. N.B.D.
Big deals are Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge -- those guys are playing very well. Also, the threat of LaMarcus and Pau Gasol having big games is always going to exist. I saw glimpses of it in the first half of #UTAatSAS, but they both couldn't make shots they usually do. Manu Ginobili also didn't have a great game, but I think he can turn back the clock here or there this season.
But more seriously, I think the Jazz see more out of David Lee and Dewayne Dedmon tonight. Those guys aren't someone you can overlook. They'll hurt you if you do. It's also going to be interesting to see who starts tonight, Kyle Anderson or Jonathon Simmons. Simmons started against the Jazz, while Anderson started against everyone else this season.
No Gordon Hayward, no Alec Burks, no Boris Diaw. Again. I'm surprised at how the team is playing without those three cogs. Someone has been stepping up every game. We've seen Shelvin Mack doing good things. We've seen Trey Lyles do good things in one game as well. But few people have stepped up more than George HIll. Tonight it will be Hill against Mills, a battle of former Tony Parker back-ups. Well, Mills still is, so whatever. I'm not an actual writer as my day job. I didn't go to words school or anything. Shut up, Amar.
Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors work so well together, and especially against another big/big pair I think we should see some extended minutes tonight. Right? Hopefully yes. Tonight is the 5th game in seven nights for the Jazz though. At some point I want Favors to be able to play as much as he wants. But I don't think we're there yet. With Boris out and Joel Bolomboy still outside of Quin Snyder's trust the team is going to need Trey Lyles to step up again. If he cannot then Snyder will be forced to go small again with Joe Johnson / Joe Ingles playing SF/PF more than the SG they probably started their careers at.
With the Spurs being light on guards I'd love to see Dante Exum exert himself a little bit tonight. Build on that momentum of that high (for him) scoring game against the Dallas Mavericks (0-4). For me! For all of us! Please! Dunk it tonight.
- PG: Paddy Mills vs. George Hill
- SG: Jonathon Simmons * vs. Rodney Hood
- SF: Kawhi Leonard vs. Joe Johnson
- PF: LaMarcus Aldridge vs. Derrick Favors
- C: Pau Gasol vs. Rudy Gobert
* or Kyle Anderson
GO JAZZ GO!
Who's going to win tonight? (Vegas Line is SA -4.0)
This poll is closed
Jazz by 11+ points
Jazz by 6 to 10 points
Jazz by 1 to 5 points
Spurs by 1 to 5 points
Spurs by 6 to 10 points
Spurs 11+ points