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Utah Jazz vs. Charlotte Hornets Game Preview: Size against Speed

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Game #45: Hornets (22-23) @ Jazz (19-25)
Location: Vivint Smart Home Arena • Salt Lake City, UT
Time: 7:00 p.m. (MT)
TV: ROOT Sports • Radio: 1280 AM / 97.5 FM

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

After starting off their season high six game home stand with a loss against the Detroit Pistons on Monday, the Utah Jazz try to pick up the pieces and get some revenge on the Charlotte Hornets. These two teams played once already this past tenday (on January 18th), and lost in double overtime 124-119. In that game point guard Kemba Walker exploded for 52 points and no one could stop him. (But still, let's just blame one guy. That's objective and rational.) Tonight, we hope, is payback time. These two teams split the season series in 2014-2015, and if the Jazz wish to do so again this year they need to win tonight.

Winning in Utah shouldn't be a problem, as historically the Jazz are 20-5 against the Charlotte Bobcats / Charlotte Hornets franchise. Furthermore, they hold a 35-17 record overall in the head to head series. So what's the deal? The deal has to be adjusting to when head coach Steve Clifford used Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lin in tandem. He's being doing that a lot lately thanks to injuries to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Jeremy Lamb. Utah has trouble defending one point guard, two is twice the trouble.

On the flipside, Utah will be at as full strength as we can hope for with the return of Derrick Favors. This means that only two of our top six players are out! (Instead of four of six) If the Jazz will have to deal with their speediness they will have to deal with the Jazz' size. I get it, the Hornets are #2 in the NBA in DRB%, and protecting their glass is a huge part of their defensive strategy right now. But Al Jefferson and Cody Zeller are both out for tonight. The Jazz should be owning the paint on offense (and on the offensive glass) tonight because I don't think Spencer Hawes and Frank Kaminsky can turn back the tide of Rudy Gobert, Derrick Favors, Trevor Booker, and Trey Lyles. If course, this is me counting out Marvin Williams, so of course he'll have a great game tonight.

Outside of big going up against small, what will this game be like? It's a game where the Jazz should start winning some at home. And hopefully, a wake-up call for the Jazz who seem to think they can win games by playing hard for half the game.

Assumed Starters:

Presumed Injuries:

  • Al Jefferson (C) -- OUT, right knee surgery, missed last 14 games
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (SF/SG) -- OUT, right shoulder surgery, missed last 45 games
  • Cody Zeller (C) -- OUT, right shoulder strain, missed last 3 games
  • Nicolas Batum (SF) -- QUESTIONABLE, right second toe strain, misses last 3 games
  • Jeremy Lamb (SG) -- QUESTIONABLE, right great toe sprain, missed last 2 games
  • Dante Exum (PG) -- OUT, left ACL rehabilitation, missed entire season
  • Alec Burks (SG/PG) -- OUT, fractured left fibula, missed last 16 games
  • Raul Neto (PG) -- WILL PLAY, cleared the NBA's concussion protocol

Ya think we should win this one . . .