The Utah Jazz fell off that horse last night, losing at home by 2 points thanks to a 'creative' screen by Steven Adams who allowed Russell Westbrook to hit an open shot with 1.4 seconds left to play. The Oklahoma City Thunder stole one on the road. Tonight the Jazz need to get back into the saddle, and try to do exactly the same thing, take one from the Denver Nuggets. Denver is young, playing well, and has talent all over the court. Utah is tired. It should be a close game.
Mike Malone has this team running. They are 5th fastest in the entire NBA. That, combined with their 8th best offense in ORTG, leads to a lot of points. How many points? Well, Denver is averaging 109.8 ppg. The other side of the coin is that, well, there's more to the game than just scoring. There's playing defense too! The Nuggets aren't great on defense. In fact, they are almost worst. Their 29th NBA rank in DRTG and their high pace leads to other teams averaging 111.3 ppg against them. Just for those of you following along at home, 109.8 is a big number, but it's smaller than 111.3. That's why the Nuggets have a losing record. Of course, they have won four of their last six games, and seem to be turning the corner (despite injuries).
They absolutely own the glass (2nd best in ORB% and 4th in DRB%). All of the extra possessions help them get to the line (14th in FT/FGA ratio). And because the other team is always playing defense, they get a chance to move the ball around against a tired team in transition and find good shots. (11th in eFG%) Denver IS good. They just aren't winning. I think Utah fans can recognize that those two things (being good and winning) aren't mutually inclusive. They aren't great on defense and don't pressure the ball much. But they don't foul either. If you are going to beat them don't try to beat them at their own game. Beat them at yours.
For Utah that means fighting hard on the glass, and playing slowly.
Last season the Jazz swept the Nuggets 4-0, which is what they need to do every year from now on until the sun blows up or whatever. This season the Jazz are 2-1 against the Nuggets (wins in Utah, losses in Denver). In Denver winning isn't a regular thing, our guys are just 36-56 there. (Overall they are 109-76 in the regular season.)
There's more than just a mountain range that divides these neighbors.
- PG: George Hill vs. Jameer Nelson
- SG: Joe Ingles vs. Gary Harris
- SF: Gordon Hayward vs. Danilo Gallinari
- PF: Derrick Favors vs. Kenneth Faried
- C: Rudy Gobert vs. Nikola Jokic
Injuries / Absences:
- PG: Emmanuel Mudiay (DEN, VERY VERY QUESTIONABLE)
- SG: Rodney Hood (UTA, OUT), Gary Harris (DEN, PROBABLE)
- PF: Darrell Arthur (DEN, PROBABLE)
GO JAZZ GO!
Who's going to win tonight?
This poll is closed
UTA by 11+ points
UTA by 6-10
UTA by 1-5
DEN by 1-5
DEN by 6-10
DEN by 11+