Donovan Mitchell told the media recently that Damian Lillard reached out after draft day to congratulate him and say that he wished Donovan would have slipped to Portland. Since then, they have been friends. Damian is one player that many Utahns can’t help but root for. He went to college at Utah’s own Weber State, and has even rapped about the “Wasatch Front”. Of course, we’d all love to see a Damian-Utah reunion, but until that day we wish him success, except in his games against the impenetrable Jazz defense, of course.
Today, Portland is coming into the Vivint SmartHome Arena nice and rested, after a four-game home stand where they went 2-2, only losing to the LA Clippers and the Toronto Raptors. Both teams last played on Monday. The Jazz, on the other hand, are in the middle of their own home stand, winning the first two games against the LA Lakers and Dallas Mavericks. The Jazz are undefeated at home, hopefully that remains to be true after tonight. This game will be a good measuring stick for both teams to see where they are at.
When: Wednesday, November 1, 7pm MDT
Where: Aunt Viv, (Vivint SmartHome Arena) Salt Lake City, UT
TV: ATT SportsNet Rocky Mountain
Radio: 1280 and 97.5 The Zone
Joe Johnson (Right wrist) F
Dante Exum (Left shoulder) G
Forward Noah Vonleh (Shoulder) who has missed the first 7 games plans to make his season debut tonight verses the Utah Jazz.
Meyers Leonard (Ankle) F/C
Wade Baldwin (Thumb) G
C.J. Wilcox (Knee) G
What To Watch For:
Portland’s all-around attack
Portland currently has the #3 ORtg and #7 DRtg in the league. They have had a sneaky good defensive season thus far, according to the statistics. The Jazz will have their work cut out for them on both ends of the floor. Not to mention, Lillard and McCollum are two of the only guards in the NBA who seem to have mastered a floater that is quick enough and archs high enough to avoid Rudy Gobert.
When Ricky Rubio, Rodney Hood, and Derrick Favors hit their open shots, the Utah Jazz offense looks really good. When we go through cold stretches, the opponent is able to pack the paint with 3-4 bodies and it becomes nearly impossible to score. Utah’s ability to hit open jumpers will determine a lot of tonight’s results.
Rodney Hood vs CJ McCollum
Rodney has a size advantage he’ll need to utilize tonight to generate open shots. This game will be a showdown of guards, and luckily this season we have some good players to match-up against the two-headed dragon attack of Portland’s Lillard and McCollum. Really the player spotlight should be Utah guards vs Portland Guards. How well will Ricky Rubio and Rodney Hood be able to contain Portland’s offense, and will Hood especially be able to be Utah’s go-to scorer?
Last season, Rodney pulled off one of his more impressive plays in a game against the Trailblazers.
Here’s to hoping we see more of this from him.
Most Likely Jazz-Killer
CJ McCollum is a licensed Jazz killer. He has that Jamal Crawford gene in him. The one that seems to make him shoot better when he is contested, especially in fourth quarters. We may see Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder assign Joe Ingles and Thabo Sefolosha to guard McCollum, while giving Rodney Hood a little bit of a breather on the defensive end so he can have a bigger impact on offense.