The Utah Jazz take on the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night and Jazz fans might want to cover their eyes or bury their head in the sand until this one is over. The problem with the Jazz is that they look okay and you might even say good one night, and then the next they lay an egg. Don’t get me wrong I mean no disrespect to the Charlotte Hornets but the outcome of this game is going to depend a lot on which Utah team shows up. The Hornets are a great home team this year and have beaten the Jazz four straight times on their home floor. The Jazz happen to be a pretty good road team so far this season so we will see who wins this game of chicken.
The headline going into this game for the Utah Jazz is that they decided to pull the plug on team continuity earlier this week after the results have not been what the front office or the fans were expecting. Opting for an offensive shakeup, Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey traded for former Jazzman Kyle Korver by sending fan favorite Alec Burks to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Despite having a good performance here and there the Jazz have struggled to shoot the ball this year so far and they hope that having a shooter with the gravitas of Korver will not only open the floor but take the pressure off of other shooters not named Joe Ingles. It still has not been confirmed whether or not Korver will be available for this game, but if he is, the key for the Hornets will be to adjust to Utah’s new look team without being able to really prepare for it. I don’t think it’s going to drastically change how the Jazz run their offense but you have to believe it will change the results a quite bit if Korver gets out there and immediately starts raining down threes. Shooting can be contagious sometimes and if one player starts feeling it then the rest of the team usually does too. It will be interesting to see if Charlotte can adjust if that happens.
The Hornets are on a 2 game winning streak and coming off a solid win against the Milwaukee Bucks earlier this week. Kemba Walker is having an MVP caliber season so far, and will be hard for any one person on the Jazz to stop. The key for the Jazz in this game is to be able to play team defense at a high level for a full 48 minutes. The good news is that they looked somewhat like the defensive team that they were last year in the 4th quarter of the game against Brooklyn. Still, the Hornets have a good all around team and even if the Jazz are able to limit Walker, it will be hard to contain other guards like Jeremy Lamb and the ever pesky Tony Parker.
These two teams feel evenly matched at this point in the season but if the Jazz can get their shooting swagger back at any point then they should be able to walk away with a W in this one. This should be an entertaining, competitive game between two teams who are trying to establish a consistent identity and gain some confidence.
When: 5:00 p.m. MT, Friday Nov. 30
Where: Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC
TV: AT&T SportsNet
Radio: 1280AM/97.5 FM
What to watch for:
The Jazz rotation/Kyle Korver Minutes
The biggest thing Jazz fans will want to watch for is how Kyle Kover will affect the Jazz rotation. On one hand, Korver is 37 and probably won’t be relied on for a lot of minutes especially at this point in the season. But on the other hand it will be interesting to see what kind of rotation Coach Snyder decides to go with now that he has an extra shooter. I may be crazy but I think it is going to have a big impact on this team because not only does Korver shoot the ball well but he is a veteran player that makes the right play and turns it over very little.