The Utah Jazz will play in their second of seven-game road trip tonight against the Brooklyn Nets. Utah is coming of back-to-back wins against the Clippers and Spurs, showing some dominant stretches in both games. The Jazz have shown that when they show up and play, they are good. It was looking like this game would provide a solid test (and a really fun game) for the Jazz with KD and Kyrie both active and healthy, until Woj dropped a mini bomb yesterday evening.
Kevin Durant's facing a 7-day quarantine under league protocols because of exposure to a positive COVID-19 case, sources tell ESPN. He had the coronavirus in May, continues to register antibodies and has tested negative in multiple recents tests. He'd miss 4 games in next week. https://t.co/HFHFKHolte— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 4, 2021
This news definitely impacts tonight’s game, with KD no longer being apart of it. After starting the season 2-0 with big wins over Golden State and Boston, the Nets have lost four of their last five games, including dropping a close one to the 1-5 Wizards on Sunday night. Needless to say, the Nets are down pretty bad right now, and they probably don’t want to lose another and fall to 3-5.
When: Tuesday, January 5th • 5:30 PM MT
Where: Barlays Center, Brooklyn, NY
TV: FSSW-SA, AT&T SportsNet - Rocky Mountain
Radio: 97.5 FM | 1280 AM The Zone
What to watch for
No KD, No problems?
Not having Kevin Durant and his 28 points that he’s been good for so far this season will definitely make it harder for the Brooklyn Nets. But those points are definitely not going to just evaporate into thin air. Most of them will be replaced by Brooklyn’s other superstar in Kyrie Irving. Irving’s off to a great start in his second year with the Nets, averaging just under 27 points per game on 48/39/100 shooting splits. He’s a perfect 22-22 from the free-throw line so far this season (reverse jinx activated). Kyrie has established himself as one of the elite scorers in the NBA, with one of (if not the best) handles in the league. His ability to create his own shot and his craftiness around the rim make him a must-watch player. I’m always excited when the Jazz play against Kyrie, because the games are always really fun to watch. Kyrie vs. Don tonight will be some good quality TV.
Even without KD and aside from Kyrie, Brooklyn has some hoopers. Caris LeVert can go off, and Joe Harris is shooting a mean 50 percent from three so far. This game definitely would have been more fun if KD was active, but it will be a tough one for the Jazz regardless.
Rudy Gobert’s continued dominance
Rudy Gobert has started this season right on track for another All-NBA appearance. Gobzilla continues to be the Jazz’s most impactful player, directly changing the games he plays in both on defense and offense. Rudy is averaging 15 points, 14 rebounds, and 2 blocks so far this season on incredible shooting efficiency like usual. Fresh off a six-block game against the Spurs on Sunday, Gobert’s already making a run to reclaim the DPOY throne that was taken from him last year by Giannis Antetokounmpo. Every night is a new opportunity to showcase Gobert’s dominance, and tonight will be fun to watch him battle against DeAndre Jordan and Jarrett Allen.
Jeff Green... revenge game?
This will be the first time Jeff Green plays the Jazz as a member of the Nets. Green was cut by the Jazz in December 2019, before Green joined the Rockets. He’s been playing some good minutes for the Nets this season, so we can’t rule out the possibility that he comes in and shoots 4-7 from three and hits a big shot in the early fourth quarter or something. These lowkey revenge games are some of my favorite things about the NBA. We will see if Jeff has it in him to get some vengeance on the team that cut him two days before Christmas a year ago.