Tonight the Utah Jazz (1-2) will attempt to get to .500 this season with a road win. Being a .500 club is a big deal for Utah, a team that hasn’t been .500 since the last NBA Lockout. Road wins are usually rare for a young Jazz team. Moreso against the opponent they will face tonight, the San Antonio Spurs (4-0). While the Jazz moved from pop guns to real ammo in the off-season the Spurs reloaded for a long, drawn out gun fight. They are vet laden with Tony Parker, Pau Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, Manu Ginobili, David Lee, Danny Green, and this Kawhi Leonard dude.
Yes, Tim Duncan is finally gone. But Leonard is averaging 28 / 4 / 4 / 3 this season. I don’t think they’re planning on missing the playoffs anytime soon. And they have their eyes fully focused on each game this season.
Spurs shoot for their first 5-0 start in franchise history https://t.co/vq5Ok674ym— Pounding the Rock (@poundingtherock) November 1, 2016
And that includes tonight’s battle.
Historically the Jazz have had trouble with the Spurs. They are 76 up and 101 down in the head-to-head match up in the regular season, with a really sorry 20-69 record in their gym. Last season Utah was swept 4-0 by San Antone. This is not a one-sided affair at all. Gregg Popovich doesn’t have to roll out all of his killers to get a win against Utah. He knows that. And we know that.
So there’s going to be no Danny Green (left quad strain) or Davis Bertans (right leg contusion) tonight. Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge are returning from nights off. Tony Parker may not play, he may. You never really know.
As you can clearly see everyone on their team gets rebounds and hits threes. No one is really playing big minutes either. We love our depth on paper. They have depth on the court.
For the Jazz, who will continue to be without Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks, things are going to be an up hill battle. Quin Snyder is going to sit Boris Diaw tonight (leg contusion). The silver lining is that Derrick Favors will get his first start of the season! Hooray!
Regardless of who is and is not in the line-up, the Spurs have been perfect this season. They score the 5th most points on offense, and hold teams to the 5th least points on the other end of the court. Their slow pace (25th) means that they are killing teams with efficiency on both ends — and it’s true, 2nd best ORTG and 6th best DRTG. They are winning games by about 15 points right now. It’s not even close for their opponents.
Their three point attack has been huge, as they make 45% of their attempts, and are attempting more than 20 a game. Also, they are killers at the free throw line, making more than 85% of their attempts, while getting to the line more than 25 times a game. They are number two in assists, number one in rebounds, and Top 5 in both steals and blocks. Also, they are rarely ever called for fouls.
This year the Spurs have also been deadly on their offensive boards. If you get them to miss (which is hard) they get the ball back 27.9% of the time. Can you hurt them by trying to do the same? No. They are 2nd best in the NBA by swallowing up 83.7% of their defensive rebound opportunities.
So are the Jazz going to win? Maybe? You never know.
Marquee Match-Up: Rodney Hood vs. Kawhi Leonard
Hood needs to step up. Leonard is a potential MVP candidate this year. This will be a test.
X-Factor: How badly will the refs hurt the Jazz?
Probably a lot.