With 17 games left this season, the Utah Jazz have to get every win they can to solidify, or even improve, their playoff position. Tonight’s ESPN game will be an important one as they take on a reeling Portland Trail Blazers team who has lost their last 5 games.
The Jazz have a lot of tough matchups to end the season and so games against teams like the struggling Blazers are vital to win. Even though it’s a home game this is the first game back for the Jazz after their long road trip and we might see some tired legs as the Jazz will still be playing their 3rd game in 4 nights. Although at least this one isn’t a back-to-back.
This game is another chance for some players to get back on track. Donovan Mitchell has been slinging it lately. In 3 of the last 4 games Mitchell has 4 or more assists. Mitchell’s improvement as a playmaker has been an undertold story this year but if he keeps this up, the news will start getting out. While the playmaking has been great for Mitchell, the shots have not been following recently. The major reason is likely tired legs as the Jazz’s road trip must have had an effect. Can Mitchell find a rhythm with his shot tonight? During their 5-game losing streak the Blazers have the worst defense in the league. This might be a night that Mitchell explodes.
The other player that really needs to find a rhythm is Mike Conley. Conley has struggled lately and Utah really needs to find get back on track if they want to do anything in the playoffs. Against the Blazers swiss cheese defense, it’s as good a chance to improve as he’ll get. If he’s not able to score against this team, it might be an issue.
The Jazz have not covered in their last two games and in this one are favored by 19.5 points. That’s a huge line and, even if the Jazz figure things out, it’s hard to see them winning by 20. Utah’s defense has fallen to 14th in the NBA and there’s just no guarantee that they can hold any sort of lead, even to someone like the Blazers.
When: 8:00 PM MT
Where: Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
TV: ESPN, AT&T Sportsnet RM