The Utah Jazz (3-2) will host the San Antonio Spurs (4-1) tonight for the second time in four days. And this time we’re coming off a victory, in San Antonio, where we beat them by 15. That’s right, if you pinch yourself you aren’t waking up because this is real, and so are the Jazz.
Let’s look at five things to look for against the Spurs...
ONE: Will the Jazz be tired?
This is the third game in four nights for the Jazz and even though they beat both the Spurs and the Mavericks by double digits, both games required the Jazz starters to come in late in the game and pull away.
Derrick Favors had 15 minutes against the Spurs last time they played and played 23 minutes against the Mavericks. The minute restriction has had a nice side effect of keeping Favors rested. Rudy Gobert also only played 22 minutes in our win against the Mavericks because
the refs hate us and like to crater our game plans of foul trouble.
Quin Snyder has done an excellent job in this stretch of managing minutes. Yes, the minute restriction for Favors was in place, but no player on the Jazz played more than 35 minutes in the wins against the Mavericks and the Spurs. That’s quality management and will help the players get through tough stretches. When Gordon Hayward comes back the distribution will be that much better.
TWO: A Win Streak?
For the first time since January 20th, 2010 the Jazz will be going for two straight victories against the Spurs. The only player drafted by the Jazz that would remember that would be Gordon Hayward, in his rookie year.
THREE: Injuries for the ... Spurs?
It looks like we may have an advantage coming into this games on the injury front. I know, it’s weird.
Danny Green (left quad strain) and Tony Parker (right knee soreness) are out for Friday night's Game at Utah. https://t.co/ZGu2agqGWA— Michael C. Wright (@mikecwright) November 3, 2016
Danny Green being out means that the Spurs miss out not only on three point shooting, but also a strong defender. The Jazz were able to get away from Kawhi Leonard’s stifling defense by creating switches and then taking advantage of weaker defenders, which is not easy to do when Danny Green plays. With Green missing another game, it gives the Jazz the ability to do it again. And this game the Spurs will be even thinner with Tony Parker out.
Tony Parker is a shell of his former self, but still finds ways to score and put pressure on defenses. A much heavier load will be put on Patty Mills and you know Quin is going to come out with a scheme to take advantage.
FOUR: Rudy Gobert’s Contacts.
So I wasn’t quite sure what to think of this. Somehow Rudy keeps getting his face swiped and having a contact knocked loose. I’m here to tell you, Rudy’s contacts need a serious hand! Are these Acuvue, Proclear? Whatever they are, two times they’ve kept Rudy from getting an eye laceration! Seriously, guys, we need to write a thank you letter to 1-800-Contacts or something and get these to all our players to avoid injuries.
Also, we are 2-0 when Rudy gets his contact swiped. This is an important statistic.
Rudy Gobert goes through so many emotions as he sees his contact lens fall to the floor. pic.twitter.com/YpluDExeyQ— Jesus Gomez (@JejeGomez_PtR) November 2, 2016
FIVE: Favors’ Minutes
Will Derrick Favors be on a minute restriction? Last game the Jazz raised the minute restriction a little bit and Favors played 23 minutes. Will he play more? I hope so. With Rudy and Derrick on the floor the Jazz are posting a PPP of 1.245 (per NBAWowy) and posting a net rating of +14 (per Basketball Reference). The cool thing about that is that Rudy and Derrick have only played together a total of 30 minutes. Currently, the Jazz best two man lineup is George Hill (insert heart emojis) and Joe Johnson with a net rating of +47, but they’ve played 139 minutes together. If you stretch out Rudy Gobert’s and Derrick Favors’ minutes it comes out to about +49 or so. That’s exciting! Get excited! Are you excited? Good.