With so many of the Mavericks in isolation because of Covid protocols, this may be relatively easy. Currently, the Mavericks list of players in isolation includes Luka Doncic, Tim Hardaway Jr., Maxi Kleber, Reggie Bullock, Josh Green, and Trey Burke as well as various assistant coaches and staff members.
Because of the outbreak of Covid with their team, the Mavericks have signed multiple players to 10-day contracts like so many teams have had to do recently.
That means the Jazz should come into this one ready to dominate. In their recent matchup against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Jazz took care of business against another team that was dealing with star players out with Covid. It wasn’t a walk in the park as players that normally don’t get time will give everything they have to prove their value and we’ll definitely see that again, but if the Jazz play well this shouldn’t be very competitive.
That’s not t say the depleted Mavericks won’t come out with energy. In a recent game against the Bucks, Jalen Brunson and the rest of the Mavericks led the Bucks through three quarters until exhaustion took over in the 4th.
Can Utah set a tone early that keeps the Mavericks from thinking they have a chance? That might really be the goal for this one: not just winning, but can you keep the minutes down of all your star players? That’s really been the story of this Jazz season. Not a single Jazz fan is worried about the Jazz’s playoff chances. It would take serious injury issues to keep Utah out of the top 3. And the Jazz likely have a chance to go up in the rankings if either the Suns or Warriors falter at any point. But can the Jazz keep their older roster healthy for the playoffs? The Jazz had a great opportunity against the Clippers to come away with a win but with Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley hobbled, they fell short.
Now, with a roster that had upgrades at the backup center and power forward, one of the main goals has been to stay healthy. And the Jazz have done just that. One of the major ways they’ve done it is by keeping minutes low. Here are the average minutes per game of the Jazz’s main rotation players.
Mike Conley: 28.1 MPG
Donovan Mitchell: 32.7 MPG
Royce O’Neale: 30.8 MPG
Bojan Bogdanovic: 29.7 MPG
Rudy Gobert: 32.0 MPG
Those are all great numbers for a team sitting comfortably in the 3rd seed in the west. If they can put the Mavericks away quickly in this one, we should see the Jazz rest them late in the 4th and continue their trend of lower minutes.
With a depleted Mavericks roster, and the Jazz looking like they’ll play like they did against the Wolves, this is an easy win for the Jazz and very likely in double digits. Here are the odds for this one but you can bet this is an easy Jazz win.
When: Dec. 25th 8:30 PM MT
Where: Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
TV: ESPN, ATTSN-RM