The Utah Jazz (25-12) are rolling, holding the NBA’s longest winning streak of 7 games, winning 12 of their last 13, really taking advantage of that softer schedule, the lack of back-to-backs, and heavy dose of home games. Donovan Mitchell is dominating with All-NBA level numbers (24.5p/6.5a/3.9r), Joe Ingles is back to jingling opponents (15.8p/5.7a/4.2r, 50% from 3), and Of course, we catch the Charlotte Hornets (15-25) two days after they fought the Raptors (without Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, or Marc Gasol) to a close home overtime loss, who then have to travel to the raucous house of high elevation that is Aunt Viv.
The Hornets aren’t a horrible team - they beat the slightly slumping Mavericks in Dallas last Saturday (without Porzingis, to be fair), again in overtime - but that hasn’t translated into consistent results. Since their home loss to the Jazz on December 21st, the only other win was against the dreadful Cleveland Cavs last Thursday. Naturally, this means that the Hornets are a threat to disrupt the Jazz’s excellent team rhythm and spoil the good times in Jazzland. The Hornets are generally pretty awful, with a NBA-bottom five net rating of -6.5, but suddenly turn into a top-ten team (9th, 12.1) by that metric in the clutch (when the margin is within five points in the last five minutes before a game’s conclusion). So, the key to this game for the Jazz is for them to do what they did to the Knicks - put the Hornets down early and never let them back in, with their newfound bench firepower. Or, if it gets to that, the Jazz can hopefully clutch it out like they did when they played in Charlotte.
When: Friday, Jan. 10, 2020 • 9:00 PM ET
Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena • Salt Lake City, UT
TV: AT&T Sports Net Rocky Mountain, Fox Sports Southeast-Charlotte
Radio: 97.5 FM | 1280 AM The Zone, WFNZ 610 AM/102.5 FM
What to watch for
Rudy Gobert has had a couple game saving defensive plays this season. In spite of the lack of rim protection behind him and the presence of relatively short wings playing alongside him, Rudy has stepped up to the challenge, keeping the Jazz defense afloat (9th, 106.0) and collecting a career high 14.4 rebounds per game. As a result, his offensive and block numbers have suffered a bit - he’s averaging a career low 1.8 blocks per game (other than his rookie season) and career high turnovers per game. I think it’s time for Rudy to feast on the offensive end. He needs a “breakout” game to put himself back on the radar of the national media, garnering him the attention he deserves as the rightful DPOY over Anthony Davis or an All-Star appearance over the likes of Karl-Anthony Towns or Kristaps Porzingis or Dwight Howard (!!??!). C’mon Rudy, we want you to reap the rewards that your rightfully deserve. Bismack Biyombo and Cody Zeller have nothing on you. Just a reminder of what he can do when being fed the ball:
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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, 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.