Two days after one of the most busy trade deadlines ever (so much for a “quiet trade deadline” eh?), the 6th-seeded Utah Jazz (31-24) take on the 7th-seeded San Antonio Spurs (32-25). In the week before the deadline, 16 teams made trades between each other. However, neither the Jazz nor the Spurs took on new players despite major rumblings about Ricky Rubio, Derrick Favors, and Pau Gasol, and trade targets like Nikola Mirotic, Stanley Johnson, and Terrence Ross. This game is very important - not only as a gauge of how well the guys can play due to “better chemistry” - but also as a critical tiebreaker for both playoff-bound teams. The Jazz and Spurs have split their season matchups so far, winning each game they’ve had at home, so this will be the final game they meet in this season (unless they get matched up somehow during the playoffs).
Spurs lost a close game in Portland Thursday night 118-127, the third loss in a hard stretch on the road at the Kings (112-127), Golden State (102-141), and Portland. They’ve been killer at home, with a 22-7 record, but pretty bad on the road (10-18). On the flip side, the Jazz have managed to do relatively well on the road (14-14), but need to step it up at home (17-10). The Jazz have had a few days off since their last game, a close battle against the Suns that turned into a blowout in the fourth quarter. We’ll see if the Trade Deadline drama and extra rest has caused the Jazz to become more focused or rusty and complacent.
When: Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019 • 3:00 PM MT
Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena • Salt Lake City, UT
TV: Fox Sports Southwest – San Antonio, AT&T Sports Net – Rocky Mountain
Radio: WOAI 1200AM, 97.5 FM | 1280 AM The Zone
Dante Exum – Left Ankle Sprain – OUT
Thabo Sefolosha – Right Hamstring – QUESTIONABLE
Tony Bradley – Right Knee Surgery – OUT
San Antonio Spurs:
Rudy Gay – Left Ankle Sprain – PROBABLE
Derrick White – Right Heel Soreness – OUT
Dejounte Murray – Knee (ACL) – DOUBTFUL
Lonnie Walker IV – Sprained Right Ankle – OUT
What to watch for
Ricky Rubio, on the drama of the trade deadline: "Do I like it? No. I hate it. … The team, sometimes, upstairs, they don't feel like the chemistry matters, and sometimes it matters more than anything." pic.twitter.com/NPW46TIp86— Eric Walden (@tribjazz) February 8, 2019
Ricky Rubio has seemed to take shots at the Jazz front office for not trusting in the team’s chemistry. We all know that the New Orleans Pelicans pulled a fast one over the Lakers and seemed to destroy a lot of trust built up in their locker room by involving numerous young players and “salary fillers” in a potential trade for Anthony Davis, building up more and more unreasonable demands, only to back out last minute and make LeBron and the Lakers look like fools. I hope that a similar reaction is not going to be warranted from Ricky, Derrick, Thabo, and whoever else has been involved in trade rumors these past few weeks, but we’ll let play on the court speak for itself.
LaMarcus Aldridge vs Rudy Gobert
Several of the All-Star picks that made it were egregious in the context of Rudy Gobert, but Aldridge was especially noteworthy as he and Gobert effectively play the same position. Look for Rudy to show Aldridge up, especially with losses to the Rockets and Portland (without Capela and Nurkic), as he wants to show that he deserves the spot over the 33 year old. Aldridge is frankly still putting up really great numbers (21p/9r/1.2b) so shutting him down will be critical for the Jazz to clinch the season tiebreaker between the teams.
Go Jazz Go!