The final pre-season game is upon us! The Utah Jazz are hosting the Portland Trail Blazers, and the revolution will not be televised, but I guess if this match turns out to be better than the one on opening night then someone can always switch the tapes. It’s an entertainment kind of business after all.
Five things to watch for this game are:
1. Fan accounts of those who went
From the comment section I’ve gathered that, at the minimum, one person is going to see it all live at the Aunt Viv. So hopefully one (two, eight) accounts will surface in the comment section or elsewhere, as apparently ROOT will not be airing this one. Although I live in Europe and have become quite a specialist in going by radio accounts and box scores in them days that we had nothing but, we obviously would love to hear from people who, you know, actually
allegedly saw a ball go through a hoop.
Don’t let us down people, we’re depending on you!
2. Ultimate test case or rest it out?
Alec Burks, Derrick Favors, and Rodney Hood haven’t played all that much (or, at all), so the question is do you rest them out, or is this a nice test case to get A) match fitness up, B) see how the body reacts to an actual match game. This, of course, if at all possible physically.
Complicating matters is that this is the exact team you’re facing on opening night, and having already lost the first test case, is this a statement game? To just let them know, Guys, we’re gonna be leaping right on over you this season, and that’s going to start opening night.
Then again, maybe Terry Stotts decides not even to play Damian Lillard and/or C.J. McCollum, so yeah….
No injury issue for Lillard. The plan was for him to rest the second half going into the game. "Wrap" on his wrist was an elbow pad.— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) October 17, 2016
Do you think, if fit, Favors, Burks, and Hood should log in minutes?
3. Drawing the bigs out
When Portland placed its decisive run in the third quarter in the first pre-season game they ran a play that consisted of high picks, and the two gunners circling the three line in a foot chase that, in terms of pace, puts Gene Hackman to shame.
What is brilliant is that it moves all the action to the outside, there where the Blazers are most comfortable and where they have to be heavily guarded. Meanwhile, it empties out the middle, giving their shooters the option to move to the basket if one’s not careful. The high screens, high pace, and the low population density in the paint might be something that the Jazz are going to encounter a lot this year.
All the more reason it’s a good thing Rudy Gobert is hitting free throws, scoring, and making his presence felt on the floor in multiple ways.
Still preseason but feels good to win at home. Many more to come! #jazznation— Rudy Gobert (@rudygobert27) October 18, 2016
So, for much this pre-season, no Gordon Hayward, no Favors, no Hood, no Burks, but apparently, this team also features no scrubs. One thing that was lacking last year, and that the Jazz (hopefully) rectified this year, was depth. This year, our second and third string just trounced the Clippers’ second and third string, with only Rudy Gobert as star player logging in minutes. (Though not so much certain parts of the game).
Right now is Jazz 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th guys v. Clippers primary bench unit— David Locke (@Lockedonsports) October 18, 2016
But everyone that stepped on the court helped out, from the whole gluttony of point guards to our other Frenchman and his nifty passing, giving the Clips a good whooping.
So yeah, this year, no scrubs, they’re getting none of that time and love this year.
5. All hail opening night
Sure, tonight is nice. But really, what we’re actually looking forward to doesn’t have anything to do with tonight, now does it?
So. Close. Almost. There.