The Utah Jazz (31-11) will face off against the Brooklyn Nets’ (30-14) three headed monster of
Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and James Harden tonight in SLC. Oh, wait.
Unfortunately for us watching, both Kyrie Irving (out for personal reasons) and Kevin Durant (hamstring) won’t be playing tonight. To add a little more salt to the wound, their sharpshooter Landry Shamet will most likely be a no-go as well due to an ankle injury. This is obviously a bit of a bummer because the last time these two teams met up, the Brooklyn Nets played sans Kevin Durant and all of the new roster additions. It would have been nice to see how the Jazz match up against a full-strength Nets team, however, it’s not like they are going up against a complete slouch tonight.
James Harden will still be playing and that means that the Nets have just as good of a shot as any to win the ballgame. Just take a look at what he did last night against PDX:
A career-high-tying 17 assists to go with 25 points.— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) March 24, 2021
What can't @JHarden13 do at this point? pic.twitter.com/7Y6nPccX7f
It should be noted that tonight’s game is the second half of a back-to-back for Brooklyn. James Harden played 40 minutes last night and I have a feeling that Steve Nash won’t push his banged-up star for the second night in a row.
When: 8:00 PM MDT
Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah
TV: ESPN, AT&T SportsNet-Rocky Mountain
Radio: 97.5 FM/1280 AM
What to watch for
Will Bojan continue to build off of last game?
No, scoring 8 points on 3-14 shooting from the field and 0-5 from downtown isn’t a great offensive game. But that doesn’t mean that Bogdanovic didn’t take steps forward.
The two worst things that can happen to a struggling basketball player are (1) losing the green light from your coach and (2) allowing your struggles to define your effort. For Bogdanovic, the latter has been an issue recently. However, against the Bulls, he had a great outing on defense. For players like Bogdanovic who don’t necessarily have the most outstanding physical tools, effort is the most important way to ensure that you have an impact on that end. That game, Bogdanovic made multiple great rotations on defense and was even able to stay in front of his guy. Nobody is expecting him to be a hyper-effective defender, however, if he can continue to at least be average on that end, the Jazz are going to be a much better team.
When it comes to the offensive end, I’m still not so worried. I would really love to see the Jazz throw the him the ball in the post early on in the game to try and build some confidence. I think a large part of his struggles right now are his hesitancy to take the shots he best at, which in turn, push him toward shots he is not-so-good at. Still, for right now, I’m happy to see him working on defense and I look forward to that again tonight.
Will Joe Ingles continue to be one of the most efficient basketball players in NBA history?
After shooting 5 for 6 from downtown against the Bulls, Joe Ingles is officially shooting 50% from three this season. That is obviously ridiculous.
Even crazier than that is his effective field goal percentage: 72.22%. That slots him only behind Wilt Chamberlain and Mitchell Robinson for the highest single season eFG%. All the while, he’s attempted 210 three pointers. This efficiency is bonkers.
At 33, Ingles is having a career year while playing fewer minutes and only starting 10 games. On top of his blistering shooting, he is still a savant in the pick-and-roll and solid on-ball defender. I’m not exactly sure how much longer this shooting streak will go, but for as long as it lasts, enjoy it. He is playing some down-right beautiful basketball at the moment and I’m looking forward to seeing him continue it against the Nets tonight.