Having won their past three games, the Utah Jazz handily finished off the “easy” portion of their season and rose to the second seed in the Western Conference. Now, a series of more difficult games await the Jazz, and will likely show us where we really stack up against the best teams in the West. This starts with an early matinee game against the Dallas Mavericks.
The Dallas Mavericks are this year’s feel-good story. In the 2018-19 season, the Mavericks were the 14th seed in the Western Conference. Today, they stand at the 5th seed behind MVP-level play from 2020 all-star starter Luka Doncic. Luka is averaging an incredible 29.1 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 9.0 apg, and 1.1 spg. All of this on fairly efficient shooting (58.2% from 2, 32.2% from 3), while shooting 9.2 free throw attempts per game. Luka does so many things for his team, and doesn’t have many glaring weaknesses. It will be interesting to see how the Jazz choose to defend this force of nature.
When: Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020 • 3:00 PM MST
Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena • Salt Lake City, UT
TV: AT&T Sports Net Rocky Mountain,
Radio: 97.5 FM | 1280 AM The Zone,
What to watch for
Depth, and a lot of it
One advantage the Jazz have over many other teams is their depth. The talent looks bottomless, with the acquisition of Jordan Clarkson, and the freshly rejuvenated Mike Conley. Coach Quin Snyder has been able to stagger talent in a much more efficient way, that provides 48 minutes of punch after punch. It wears the other team down, and may allow us to take advantage of teams such as Dallas who rely so heavily upon the production of a single player.
The Jazz also excel at matchup-based advantages. With an injury to Dwight Powell, the Mavericks may not have the tools to contain Rudy Gobert. With the all-time record for dunks in a regular season, and a two-time DPOY, Rudy will likely be strengthening his case for the All-Star game.
A game of chess between two Grandmasters
Utah coach Quin Snyder and Dallas coach Rick Carlisle are two of the premier coaches in this league. Both are students of the game, and have philosophical approaches to coaching their teams. Both are in the race for the Coach of the Year award. And finally, both are not satisfied with simply making the playoffs, they are here to win. Pay attention to the schemes, rotations, and playcalling tonight, as this should be almost as much of a mental match as it is a physical one.
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