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Utah Jazz at San Antonio Spurs Game Preview

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Game #34: Jazz (15-18) @ Spurs (30-6)
Location: Vivint Smart Home Arena • Salt Lake City, UT
Time: 6:30 p.m. (MT)
TV: ROOT Sports • Radio: 1280 AM / 97.5 FM

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight the Utah Jazz will be tipping off on the first of a back-to-back set where the good guys face two of the three points of the Texas triangle. Utah Jazz @ San Antonio Spurs tonight, and Utah Jazz @ Houston Rockets tomorrow night. Exciting right? The Spurs have 30 wins already, and will be looking for 31 against the injured Jazz. Utah will once again play without three starters Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert, and Dante Exum, and without key bench scorer Alec Burks. There will be some relief tonight as the Spurs will be keeping 30 year old LaMarcus Aldridge out for "rest", and Tony Parker (an ancient 34) is also out because of right hip soreness. However you want to slice it, being down three starters is worse than being down two starters -- especially for a team that has such shallow depth as the Utah Jazz.

The Spurs will not go easy on the Jazz either. The Spurs have the 3rd best ORTG and the absolute bust DRTG. Even though they play at the 24th fastest pace in the league their overall excellent and efficiency result in the team which scores the 6th most in PPG (103.1) and is still first in Opp. PPG (89.2). The Spurs defense is legendary. They rarely get called for a foul, have the best opp. eFG%, and no team clears the defensive glass like them. The only thing they aren't excellent at is causing turn overs. But basically playing into their defensive scheme is likely to cause a miss anyway, a miss that the Spurs will rebound. It's the same result.

Offensively they work the ball out for the best possible shot available. Four guys are averaging double figures: Kawhi Leonard (20.9 ppg), LaMarcus Aldridge (15.8 ppg), Tony Parker (12.4 ppg), and Manu Ginobili (10.0 ppg). But even more amazing is there are four guys who are scoring between 7.0 and 9.9 ppg.after that. They have great floor balance and scoring balance. It's unique how they can get star players to take lesser roles to fit into their system.

That said, it's hard not to also admit that they have five legit, established stars on the squad right now with Duncan, Parker, Ginobili, Leonard, and Aldridge. Even if just three of those stars are playing tonight it should be enough to deal with the Jazz.

Gordon Hayward and Rodney Hood are lighting it up. Jeff Withey is doing what he can in the middle. But there is a significant lack of quality depth beyond them. Trey Burke and Raul Neto aren't quite the equals of Patrick Mills right now. Trevor Booker and Trey Lyles aren't quite Boris Diaw. And Joe Ingles and Chris Johnson aren't exactly Danny Green.

Top to bottom this should be a solid win for the Spurs, and yet another learning experience for the Utah Jazz. I've been writing about this thing for years now, since the two teams faced off in the playoffs. Since that point in time Utah has never returned. It's like they had a few dark years that set the franchise back, or something.

Tonight expect more Hood. Expect a Spurs win.