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The Utah Jazz look to keep their blazing hot win streak alive against the Portland Trail Blazers

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Can the Jazz keep on their longest win streak of the season and continue their dominance over the Trail Blazers?

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Utah Jazz Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

The Jazz (26-21) rematch the Blazers (28-19) on a blustery Martin Luther King Jr. Day, with blizzards smashing arenas all around the country, a callback to the Jazz’s two big December games (and wins) against Portland. The Jazz won the first in Portland 120-90 and the second in Utah on Christmas 117-96, so perhaps it’s fair to say that the Jazz may have the Blazers’ number. In spite of this, the records still show the Blazers in the 4th seed and the Jazz in 7th, with the Clippers, Lakers, and Kings all in striking distance, so this game (and those remaining in January, with games against the Nuggets, Wolves twice, and Blazers again) will be critical to the Jazz’s postseason success. With this win, the Jazz clinch the season matchup and tiebreaker over Portland.

The Trail Blazers have done well since Christmas, winning nine of 13, with good wins over the Rockets, 76ers, Kings (on the road, in OT), and Warriors (in the Oracle). Obviously, the Jazz are riding a season-high six game win streak, mostly over bad-to-mediocre teams, but they generally match up very well against the Blazers even in spite of injuries. With Ricky Rubio potentially back tonight, the Jazz should be able to put up stout defence against one of the best offensive backcourts in the league.


Game Info

Radio: Rip City Radio 620, 97.5 FM | 1280 AM The Zone

When: Monday, Jan. 21, 2019 • 7:00 PM MT

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

TV: AT&T Sports Net-Rocky Mountain, NBC Sports Northwest

Radio: WSCR-AM 670 AM The Score, 97.5 FM | 1280 AM The Zone

Injuries:

Utah Jazz:

Ricky Rubio – Right Hamstring – QUESTIONABLE

Dante Exum – Left Ankle Sprain – OUT

Raul Neto – Groin – OUT

Thabo Sefolosha – Right Hamstring – OUT

Tony Bradley – Right Knee Surgery – OUT

Portland Trail Blazers:

None.

Must be nice.


What to watch for

Rudy Gobert

Gobert has averaged 20.0 rebounds per game in his last four contests. He has three consecutive games with at least 15 points and 15 rebounds. His dominance has led the Jazz to a league leading 101.7 defensive rating in December, and 4th overall (104.4) on the season. Just check out these stats from our dear Andy Bailey:

Needless to say, we love Rudy, and he’s only getting better! With his matchup against talented big man Jusuf Nurkic, expect him to come out on fire and show why he deserves to be in the All-Star Game.

Jake Layman

The Utah Jazz isn’t the only team with unheralded, “deceptively good” shooters playing for them. The 6’ 9” Layman has started only 25 games this season for the Blazers at the small forward position, averaging 6.6 points and 2.5 rebounds, but he really can get hot, with 20 points in the second quarter against the Pelicans (and none in the other quarters!):

The Jazz need to make sure to not let him go off randomly, a la this guy...


The Jazz seem to have had the Blazers’ number so far this season, but they’re still a top ten offence that gets hot in a hurry. Keep Jusuf Nurkic under control, limit at least one of Lillard and McCollum, and don’t let the Jazz guard rotation get too thin, and the Jazz should do well.

Go Jazz Go!