The Utah Jazz, fresh off of a four games in 10 nights home stand, head back out on the road. They tip off, soon, against the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks and Jazz are both going to be fighting for home court in that 4/5 seed in their respective conferences. So in a way, this is a nice test between two teams with similar records, but at similar tiers in their own sides of the Playoff Bracket. Also, man, did you KNOW just how many connections exist between these two teams?
N.B. And this doesn't even MENTION the whole Dominique Wilkins (current Hawks Broadcaster, hey, they mentioned Matt Harpring didn't they) thing.
Coach Mike Budenholzer knows what he is doing. The Hawks are the 4th best team in DRTG and 8th best on Opp. PPG. And they are doing this WHILE being the 11th fastest team in the league. (By comparison, Quin Snyder's club is 3rd, 1st, and 30th in those same ranks.) What's holding Atlanta back seems to be their offense. They are 20th in PPG and 25th in ORTG. How? Well, I don't know. They do not get to the line very frequently; and they really don't take care of the ball at all (28th in TOV%). Playing fast may mean playing loose, in this case. But that doesn't mean they are inept. They just aren't efficient. Atlanta is middle of the road in eFG% (15th) but work the offensive glass with a reckless abandon. (This is what happens when you have guys like Dwight, Paul, Mike Muscala, and Kris Humphries on your team.)
Defensively they are more than solid. They play defense without fouling. They force turn overs. They change shots. They are disciplined on that end, and outside of the 23 year old Schroder and 24 year old Hardaway, they are all 25 and older (in their normal rotation).
You want Atlanta to take threes, they are 25th in the NBA at 3PT%. And you want them to, if possible, go to the line instead of getting an open layup. They are 28th in FT%. But let's not get too crazy here.
It may not matter what you *want*, as the Hawks are more than capable of taking care of themselves. They have been going through an up and down phase right now. Lose one, win two, lose one, win two, lose one, win one, lose one, win one, lose one, win two. The last time they did three of anything in a row was their impressive seven game win streak spanning parts of December and early January. If the current trend holds, though, they are primed for a loss tonight. If they break that trend this will be their first "three of anything" since then.
These two teams split the season series last year (winning on each other's home court), and Utah is up 1-0 this season with their home win back in November. Utah is 18-31 all-time in Atlanta, so it's not going to be easy for our Jazz. But it should be a game they can win if they come in ready to match the Hawks abilities.
They are far, but they are still family.
- PG: George Hill vs. Dennis Schroder
- SG: Joe Ingles vs. Tim Hardaway Jr.
- SF: Gordon Hayward vs. Kent Bazemore
- PF: Boris Diaw vs. Paul Millsap
- C: Rudy Gobert vs. Dwight Howard
Injuries / Absences:
- SG: Rodney Hood (UTA, OUT)
- SF: Thabo Sefolosha (ATL, OUT)
- PF: Joel Bolomboy (UTA, NBADL)
- C: Tiago Splitter (ATL, ???)
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
ATL by 1-5
ATL by 6-10
ATL by 11+