The San Antonio Spurs (4-1) haven’t played a game since being defeated by the Utah Jazz (3-2) on Tuesday. Playing the Spurs two times in a week should be illegal, right? I would like to know who’s responsible... Coach Quin Snyder worked his magic against the Spurs in the first go around, but can they duplicate their success from beyond the three point line in today’s game? The Jazz went 15-31 from three on Tuesday. That’s banana land, y’all.
Kawhi Leonard is showing the league why he needs to be considered in the MVP race. Leonard has his team to a hot 4-1 start, and has led his team in points in every game so far in this young season. He’s averaging 28.4 PPG, 4.2 REB, 3.8 AST & 3 STL. LaMarcus Aldridge is second on the team with 18.8 PPG.
Former Spur, George Hill, is doing it all for the Jazz; scoring, passing and defending. The emergence of a Jazz point guard was much needed, as we’ve been scarce in that position the past few years. When Gordon Hayward and George Hill join forces, it’s going to be MAAAGIC. Rodney Hood and Joe Johnson have also stepped up in the absence of Hayward, making up 31 of the team’s nightly points.
Good news Jazz fans, the Spurs will be without Danny Green (left quad strain) and Tony Parker (right knee soreness) tonight. Aussie point guard, Patty Mills, and high flyer, Jonathon Simmons, are likely to fill in for the injured starters. As a career 39%+ 3-point shooter, Mills is able to get hot from deep if the defenders give him space. Keeping an eye on him will be a priority tonight.
Expect a lot of mid-range and three-point shots from both squads tonight. The Jazz are giving up the least amount of points in the paint in the NBA at 32.8 points, and the Spurs give up the third least amount of points in the NBA at 36.8 points. The excess of three pointers put up in Tuesday’s game was by design, as Quin Snyder was probably looking to limit running his offense into the strength of the Spurs defense.
Are the Jazz likely to shoot 48.4% from three point range again, and beat the Spurs? Probably not. But, is it possible?
Marquee Matchup: Rodney Hood vs. Kawhi Leonard
This is the same marquee matchup as Tuesday, and for a good reason. Leonard has the ability to take over games. If Rodney Hood or Joe Johnson allow him to get hot, it may be over before you can say, “I thought we beat these guys a few days ago?”
X-Factor: Can George Hill keep up his All-Star level play?