The Utah Jazz are putting their two game win streak on the line, and their pride, as they host the San Antonio Spurs tonight. There are only five games left in the regular season, and while this one doesn't look to be the epic last game of Kobe's career, or a playoff score settling game against the Mavericks, it's still pretty big. Growing up there are few measuring sticks more obvious than your siblings. And there's no point in even listing how apt a sibling measuring stick the Spurs are for this era of the Jazz. Our head coach Quin Snyder used to be their D-League head coach under their head Gregg Popovich. Our GM Dennis Lindsey used to be an executive under their dude R.C. Buford. A number of guys from their pipeline sometimes make it into ours (sadly not Myck Kabongo) (yet). (Or Jimmer Fredette.) The number one way the familiar pedigree exhibits itself is in the mental block our guys seem to have against them. It's like playing in the driveway against your older brother. And getting stuffed repeatedly. Because, c'mon, who do you think even taught you that move, squirt?
Even in the case of our blogs, one of my huge mentors and go-to-guys in this business has been the managing editor of Pounding The Rock.
Tonight is just another game to them, but for our intrepid young team, another chance to hopefully prove themselves.
It's not going to be easy. Alec Burks (along with Dante Exum) will be out. Tibor Pleiss is back because his fancy private school in Idaho finally closed for the year. Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward have nagging injuries, but all guys do at this time of the year. As of right now only Boris Diaw is out for the Spurs, and I don't know how long their best guys will be in the game. In his last five games Kawhi Leonard played and 38:32, 30:44, 24:06, 22:10, and 40:07 minutes. Only LaMarcus Aldridge is playing big minutes right now as Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Andre Miller, Danny Green, David West, and Patrick Mills all are rotated in and out.
Man, even looking over their roster makes me marvel at just how deep they are.
We're going to see some more Kyle Anderson tonight, it will be cool if he matches up against Trey Lyles. Aside from that side-show this game could get ugly quickly. Utah has been absolutely manhandled by San Antonio all year long, and besides the odd "mercy rule" game here or there, Utah hasn't handled this head-to-head match-up well over the last decade.
For historical credit, the Jazz are 56-31 at home, but 76-100 overall in the regular season.
Let's try to avoid number 101!