All the buzz this past summer when NBA free agency began was Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving’s decision to join the Brooklyn Nets. While Nets fans certainly have reason to be excited for the future, their season has not gotten off to the start that they had hoped for after landing arguably two of the top five prized free agents this year. Especially after their strong play at the end of last season that pushed them into the playoffs.
The Nets (4-5) have looked like a team that is still trying to figure out how to manage enormous expectations while at the same time trying to gel with a new team dynamic of having a “go to” star in Irving on the roster. That doesn’t mean that they will just roll over and hand the game over as they have had some impressive wins this year so far. Their most recent win on the road against the Portland Trail Blazers and Damian Lillard’s 60 points shows just how resilient and tough this team can be.
The Jazz (7-3) on the other hand, while not making as big of a splash, are looking like they may have signed the most underrated free agent of the offseason in Bojan Bogdanovic. Things have not always been pretty in this young season but the Jazz find themselves with as good of a start as they could have hoped for in the tough Western conference.
The team has started to gel and the players on the team seem to be more comfortable in their new roles. Mike Conley is averaging 18.2 points and 3 assists with and eFG% of 54.3% in the last 5 games and Bojan Bogdanovic is averaging 21.8 points per game with and efficient eFG% of 59.4% for the season.
When: Tuesday, November 12, 2019 • 7:00pm MT
Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena • Salt Lake Ciy, UT
TV: AT&T Sports Net Rocky Mountain
Radio: 97.5 FM | 1280 AM The Zone
Mountain Mike vs Uncle Drew
The key matchup in this game will be Mike Conley vs. Kyrie Irving. Conley has always been an underrated defender and it will be interesting to see if he can slow Irving down. That task will be easier said than done as Kyrie has been having a monster season so far, but at least the Jazz have their defensive anchor Rudy to prevent some of Irving’s fanciful, dribble penetration moves that makes him such a dangerous scorer.
Kyrie Irving has gotten the best of Mike Conley in past matchups, but Mike Conley has tended to do better at home when playing against Kyrie. However, does Utah feel like home yet to Mike? We’ll soon see. The benefit of rest for Kyrie and the effects of a back to back for Mike should not be overlooked.
Will offensive rebounding play the heel tonight?
The Nets are without Caris Levert in this game but are still a very tenacious team with good rebounders all around. With the well documented struggles the Jazz have with rebounding so far this season (though on this Jazz winning streak, they have not reared their ugly head), it will be key for the team to players like DeAndre Jordan and Jarrett Allen (who has the league’s best fro) away from the offensive glass. According to Cleaning The Glass, the Brooklyn Nets are one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the league, BUT there’s a catch.
DeAndre Jordan has been horrendous on defense this year. Yeah, he’ll attack the offensive glass, but he’ll give up a lot more for that offensive rebounding. When Jordan steps onto a court, his team gives up 10.3 points per 100 possessions more points on the defensive end and scores 13.5 less points per 100 possessions on the offensive end. That’s a swing of -23.9 points per 100 possessions, according to Cleaning The Glass. If Utah can get Jarrett Allen in foul trouble, Jordan walking off the bench will be the sweetest of Jazz tunes.
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