The Utah Jazz enter their game against the New York Knicks on a winning streak once again. Granted it is just a two game winning streak, but it is still encouraging when you consider what a rough stretch they have had for the last 18 games. The Jazz will look to keep the momentum alive when they face off against the underrated Knicks. New York started the season looking like they were going to contend in the Eastern Conference, but have fallen to earth and come into this game with a record of 24-29 and are fighting to stay alive for a play-in spot this spring. The Knicks also come into this game on a two game losing streak and this is game two of a five game road trip. That doesn’t mean that this game will be easy for the Jazz though. New York has a lot of talent on their roster including all-star Julius Randle and can play with any team in the league.
The Knicks lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in heartbreaking fashion on Saturday, after leading by double digits for most of the game, they collapsed in the fourth quarter and lost in overtime. “That’s a game we should have won” Knicks forward RJ Barrett said after the game. New York has now lost eight of ten games and will be looking to put their previous game behind them against the Jazz on Monday night. The key to this game for New York will be to slow down Donovan Mitchell, who has fresh legs after his extended absence. It’s easier said than done, but if the Knicks can slow down and frustrate Mitchell then they will have a better chance at slowing down the whole Jazz offense and making things stagnant for Utah. The Jazz will have a hard time defending the Knicks without Rudy Gobert since they like to attach the rim so much, so if the Knicks can defend and keep the game close then they will give themselves a chance. If they can’t slow down Mitchell this game could turn into a blowout quickly.
The Jazz are happy to have Donovan Mitchell back in the lineup after missing several games due to a concussion. Mitchell scored 27 points on 8-10 shooting Friday night against the Nets, including 6 threes made, and he almost made it look easy. “……We’re a different team when he plays. You can see why he means so much to this team” said Jazz center Hassan Whiteside. Mitchell will no doubt be looking to show out vs. his hometown team and lead the Jazz to a third straight win. The Jazz will once again be without all-star Rudy Gobert but Jordan Clarkson and Rudy Gay are both game day decisions. Quin Snyder will be back in the coaches chair for Utah as well. The key for the Jazz is to communicate as a team on defense and make the extra effort to stop the Knicks in the paint. Julius Randle is excellent at attacking the rim and without Rudy Gobert in the middle the Knicks may be able to get whatever they want at the basket.
The Jazz have managed to take advantage of the six game homestead thus far and will hopefully be able to continue that so that they can enter the all-star break on a high note. It’s nice to see the calvary coming back and it will be interesting to see how they do until Rudy comes back. Let’s hope for an entertaining game on Monday night and a Jazz win!
Date/Time: 2/7/2022, 7:00pm
Location: Vivent Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
TV: ATTSN-RM, ESPN
Radio: 97.5/1280 The Zone, Utah Jazz app