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Utah Jazz and Golden State Warriors headline tonight’s game on ESPN

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Utah Jazz Home Opener: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

NBA: Utah Jazz at Golden State Warriors Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

After the Utah Jazz officially broke the seal on the new season with a win over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday they come home to host the defending champion Golden State Warriors in their first big game of the season. Although the season is still young, the Jazz will be looking to use this game to make a statement and show everyone that they are indeed dark horse contenders to threaten the Warriors this season. The Golden State Warriors will no doubt be looking to crush the Utah Jazz’s spirits and stop them in their tracks.

Golden State Warriors v Utah Jazz - Game Four Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images

The Warriors are the clear favorites to win the NBA title again this year. They come into this game against the Jazz after finding a way to beat an Oklahoma City team sans Russell Westbrook and Andre Roberson. Although the game never really felt like it was in doubt, it was clear that there was some rust that had to be shaken off. Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the game “now it’s a matter of pumping up the minutes and getting over the hump to where we’re still moving, cutting and defending after 25 minutes”. Look for the Warriors to try and refine some of the things that they normally do so well as they get into the groove of the season.

The Jazz certainly didn’t look the part of a western conference contender in the first quarter of the season opener on Wednesday against the Kings. Falling behind 25-9 early, notable starters Donovan Mitchell and Ricky Rubio struggled finding their shot. For the Jazz to have a chance against the Warriors, the starters cannot come out as flat as they did. If the Jazz want to go toe to toe with the Warriors, they will also need another strong game from the bench. One game is not a huge sample size but the bench has looked good so far this season and if that continues Friday night they will have a very good chance of securing the win. I don’t expect another 30 or 40 point win like what we saw a couple of times last season, but if the offense is clicking then the Jazz are going to be hard for anyone to beat.

In the end, how the Jazz played against the Warriors last regular season is in the past and this season is a whole new animal. To paraphrase Jazz forward Joe Ingles before this season started “teams are going to be prepared for us this season…… we are not sneaking up on anybody”. The Jazz are capable of winning this game and even though it is only the second game of the regular season it should prove to be a major boost if they can take care of business and get the W. I know one thing is for sure, it’s not going to feel like the second game of the season in Vivint Smart Home Arena tomorrow night. Expect the best home crowd in the NBA(former NBA commissioner David Stern said it, not me) to come out and support the most exciting team they have had in years. Go Jazz!


Game Info

When: 8:30MT • Friday, October 19th, 2018

Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena · Salt Lake City, UT

TV: AT&T Sportsnet RM, NBA League Pass

Radio: 1280 AM/97.5 FM The Zone

Injuries:

Utah Jazz:

Raul Neto — Right Hamstring — OUT

Golden State Warriors:

None


What to watch for

Can the Jazz live up to the pressure of such a highly anticipated home opener?

In the previous game it looked like the starters were a little bit tight and starting pressing a little bit. It will be particularly interesting to see if Donovan Mitchell can get off to a good start and if the team in general can get into a good groove early on. This is a team that the Jazz cannot afford to let get a big lead early on if they want to have a chance of winning.

Will former Jazzman Jonas Jerebko see time against his old team?

It seems like whenever we play against an old friend we get torched. It will be interesting to see if Jerebko has a chip on his shoulder and score 40 against. I don’t think there was any bad blood between the organization and the player but let’s hope he doesn’t explode and have a career night from the three point line or something.