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Utah Jazz take on short-handed Cleveland Cavaliers

This article could be summed up by the Star Wars “It’s a trap!” gif

Utah Jazz v Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Utah Jazz (6-4) will take on the undermanned Cleveland Cavaliers (5-6) tonight.

Cleveland will be at a big disadvantage with almost half their team out for a myriad of reasons.

Considering how well the Jazz have performed against bad, and undermanned teams, the Jazz shouldn’t come into this expecting a win or that this will be easy in any way. When the Jazz have done that before, Utah has gotten burned. (see losses at the Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder and the Kevin Durant-less Brooklyn Nets.)

If the Jazz can set a tone to start this game, this can actually be a great opportunity for Utah. This is the first game of a back to back on what is a long road trip for the Utah Jazz. If Utah does well, they can get some rest for their main rotation players and give their bench a chance to show the team what they can do.

Quin Snyder has been very reticent to insert any of the Jazz’s developing players into the rotation this year. Miye Oni and Juwan Morgan, who played very well in preseason and have received lots of praise in the offseason, haven’t seen a meaningful minute this season so far.

This is an opportunity to let them play without affecting the concrete rotations the Jazz currently use.

Game Info

When: Tuesday, January 12th, 2021 - 5:30 PM MDT

Where: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland, OH

TV: AT&T Sportsnet - Fox Sports Ohio

Radio: 97.5 FM | 1280 AM The Zone

What to watch for

Do the Jazz get minutes for their bench or do they play down to their competition again?

The Jazz have had inconsistent effort this season. They have some impressive wins and some head scratching losses.

If they want to get a top seed in the playoffs, they need to stop coming out slow in games against bad teams. Doing that in this game could have some long-lasting consequences. Utah is on a tough road trip and there isn’t an opportunity to rest. If they get into a long, drawn-out fight with a Cleveland team dealing with a huge amount of injuries, that could make it hard to play tomorrow at a high level.

Also, the opportunities to see their bench play have been few and far between. Quin Snyder needs to feel comfortable playing the Jazz developing players, and apparently that only will happen with a massive lead. Although the Jazz have had huge leads before and he hasn’t been willing so maybe it needs to be a massive, massive lead? We’ll see. But one thing is for sure, Utah won’t see Udoka Azubuike or Elijah Hughes or Miye Oni or Juwan Morgan unless there isn’t a huge lead.