Usually playing at home cures all ills but the Utah Jazz have now lost their last 3 home games and are on a 4 game skid. This is before they take to the road in what will be their first extended road trip of the season. The Utah Jazz will face off against the Brooklyn Nets who are high off their win last night in Portland.
D’Angelo Russell is having himself a season in Brooklyn. He’s averaging 20 points and 6 assists while looking like the player the Lakers hoped they were drafting when they landed Lonzo Ball. With Brooklyn coming into town this also means a return of Trevor Booker, the fan favorite who never quits on a play.
It’s odd to think that a game so early in the season could mean a lot to the Utah Jazz, but with a loss tonight, Utah could be facing the possibility of a 9 game losing streak as they take their hapless offense on the road. The Utah Jazz had looked like they had figured out their offensive woes in the first half of last night’s game, scoring 49 points in one half. Then they went on a drought that saw them only score 3 points in 11 minutes and 25 points in the entire second half with only 3 field goals. That’s a football score.
The Jazz are in desperate need of turning this ship around and it doesn’t look like the calvary is arriving any time soon.
When: Saturday, November 11, 7 p.m.
Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
TV: AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain
Radio: 1280 and 97.5 The Zone
Rudy Gobert (Knee) - Questionable
Joe Johnson (Right wrist) - OUT
Dante Exum (Left shoulder) - OUT
Jeremy Lin (Knee) - OUT
Tyler Zeller (Illness) - Game Time Decision
Trevor Booker (Back) - Game Time Decision
Jarrett Allen (Foot) - OUT
What To Watch For:
Can Utah’s defense make up for Gobert’s absence?
With Rudy Gobert questionable for tonight’s game, there’s a chance that we’ll see a lot of Ekpe Udoh. While #EkpesBlockClub is piling up the members, his scoring club is vacant. Gobert still attracts a lot of attention in the paint when he has the ball so an anemic offense could get put on life support.
On the defensive end, Gobert makes up for a lot of mistakes. Ekpe Udoh does a great job spelling G-O-B-E-R-T in small stretches, what happens when he’s out their for almost 30?
Most of Rudy Gobert’s absence will eventually fall on Derrick Favors’ shoulder. Last night he only had one rebound. Meanwhile this season he is only averaging 10 points and 4 rebounds a game. This is where Utah needs him to come up big and step up in Rudy’s absence.
Utah’s defense may be third best in the NBA, but it’s still allowed some top flight guards to put up some video game numbers. James Harden, DeMar DeRozan, and now Dion Waiters have taken advantage of the Utah Jazz’s perimeter defense. This thinking might have gone into why Rodney Hood comes off the bench and Donovan Mitchell starts. Donovan isn’t out there for offense, he’s out there for defense. Which brings us to D’Angelo Russell.
He’s been feasting on NBA defenses this season. Between him and the emergence of Hollis-Jefferson this year, the Jazz could have a long night. He also averages 5 free throw attempts a game. He’s going to get to the line and the Jazz don’t have depth at center to afford to get into foul trouble.
Ricky Rubio and his turnovers
Ricky Rubio is already averaging a career high in turnovers at 4.2 turnovers a game. It looked as though he had got his turnover problem under control until this slide started. Rubio has had 4 games of 5 turnovers or more and two of those games are in this losing streak. Rubio has had uncharacteristic turnovers, forcing the issue. The Jazz’s offense already cannot handle small mistakes and eek out a victory. Turnovers just make games out of reach. The Utah Jazz need the Ricky Rubio of last year, not the Ricky Rubio of this year to make an appearance. Steady management of the game, cut down on the careless passes, and tough defense. If he can do that, the Jazz break this losing streak.
Most Likely Jazz-Killer: Allen Crabbe
Yeah, I know, I talked a big game about DLo and didn’t mention Crabbe once. But a hallmark of a true Jazz-killer is they only get up for Jazz games. Crabbe only has a 20 point outing once every 4-5 games. It’s been four games since his last 20 point outing. He also was brought up in Portland with seasoned Jazz-killers McCollum and Lillard. This seems like a match made in hell. So here we go, Crabbe will be the Jazz-killer of the night.