Things have not come easy for the Utah Jazz in Atlanta the past few years. Utah has lost three of their last four games inside State Farm Arena dating back to January of 2018. The teams that have given the Jazz a hard time in each of these games have not been very good teams. Take last year’s game for a prime example. Hawks were 25-48, and beat the Jazz in a close one.
This season it’s no different. The Atlanta Hawks have the second worse record in the NBA at 6-22. They have lost their last five games by a combined 86 points, including surrendering 143 points to the New York Knicks in their last game Tuesday night. They are currently the worst three-point shooting team in the NBA, and have the 3rd worst defense in the league, along with the 5th worst offense. They turn the ball over more than any other team in the NBA (yes, even more than the Jazz). This team is really struggling this season, but you can almost certainly count on them giving the Jazz a game tonight in Atlanta, because, well, that’s just what happens to the Jazz.
When: Thursday, Dec 17, 2019 • 5:30 PM MST
Where: State Farm Arena • Atlanta, Georgia
TV: AT&T Sports Net Rocky Mountain, FSS
Radio: 97.5 FM | 1280 AM The Zone
What to watch for
Donovan Mitchell vs. Trae Young
If there’s any silver linings for the Atlanta Hawks so far this season, it’s the performance their star point guard Trae Young. Young is currently 5th in the league in scoring at 28.3 points per game. His 8.5 assists per game is good for 4th highest in the NBA. He has 14 games this season with 30+ points, which trails only James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Despite the performance of his team and their record, Trae Young is playing at an All-Star level individually. If you haven’t watched him yet this season, you’re in for a treat tonight. He’s a really exciting player to watch, and does some really dope stuff with the basketball in his hands.
Donovan Mitchell is also playing some pretty good basketball. Mitchell is working on possibly the best stretch of his season the last few games, scoring 26-30-28-30 in his last four. He’s shot over 50 percent in his last three games, and has been scoring efficiently with the team on his back.
Seeing Mitchell and Young go toe-to-toe tonight is going to be really fun to watch. They are both electrifying playmakers, but each with their own unique and different style. They both score a lot, and could both go for 30+ tonight in Atlanta.
Can the Jazz offense feast?
The Jazz need to take advantage of a bottom-five defensive team in the Hawks. The Knicks put up 140+ on this team just a few nights ago. This seems like a game that the three-headed beast of Donovan Mitchell, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Rudy Gobert could score 70+. It also seems like a game that someone on the bench could contribute 15+. Maybe this is the Jeff Green game. Or the Emmanuel Mudiay game. Even without Conley, look for the Jazz to score the ball a lot tonight. If they don’t, and they allow the Hawks to stay in it, it’s going to get really interesting.
The Jazz bench has really, really struggled lately. They have dropped to 28th in the league in scoring at 27 points per game. The Hawks bench presents a pretty capable bunch, with an ageless Vince Carter, a solid Alex Len and an exciting rookie scorer in Cam Reddish. Look for this bench battle to be a key to the game tonight. If the Jazz starters can build a lead, can the bench hold it?
This dunk was so crazy. It’s been two days and I can’t stop watching.
Game Thread Ground Rules
Welcome to the SLC Dunk Game Thread.
Dunkers know how this thing works, but for you lurkers ready to make the jump to Dunker, we have a few guidelines. Remember to follow our community guidelines (no swearing, trolling, excessive use of Jerry Sloan’s name in vain, no personal attacks, no debates about Utah liquor laws, etc.). Remember to have fun. Anyone who dare blasphemes that Tim Duncan was a Power Forward (this means you, Pounding the Rock), Ben Simmons can hit threes, Gordon Hayward should not be booed, Exum Island isn’t a 5-Star resort, Donovan Mitchell is Monta Ellis 2.0, men should never cry, or John Stockton is not the best point guard of all-time will receive an automatic ban. Just kidding. But seriously.