Utah Jazz Weekly Preview

Los Angeles Lakers

Location: Energy Solutions Arena – Salt Lake City, Utah

Date: Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Time: 7:00 PM   TV: Root Sports

The Lakers will be arriving in Utah today on the heels of a back-to-back after Kobe blasted the Phoenix Suns for 48 in a win last night in LA.  The Lakers are 7-4 and first in their division.  The Lakers are averaging 95 points per game and allowing only 90 (good enough for 3rd in the league.)  They lead the league in rebounds per game and are top ten in assists.

What to watch for:

Kobe is second in the league in scoring behind LeBron.  As usual, you know what you have with Kobe and Raja Bell will be primarily tasked with stopping the future Hall of Famer.  The Jazz will need to be active in the help defense and blocking out for rebounds to limit second chance points (the Lakers average over 12 offensive boards per game.)

Prediction:

The Jazz will keep it close at home, riding the momentum they’ve gained in the current five-game win streak, but the Lakers have too many play-makers and they have the advantage of “owning” the Jazz when they meet up.  Lakers will win, but it will be by fewer than ten points.

Jazz lose.

 

New Jersey Nets

Location: Energy Solutions Arena – Salt Lake City, Utah

Date: Saturday, January 14, 2012

Time: 7:00 PM   TV: Root Sports

This game marks the first time Jazz cast away Deron Williams returns to the arena since he was shipped to the Nets at last season’s trade deadline.  The Nets are not a good team.  They host a 2-8 record and will be on the back end of a back-to-back after tussling with Phoenix on Friday night.  This will be their 3rd of a 4 game road trip out west.

What to watch for:

Deron Williams.  Will he be motivated to avenge himself on the team that traded him away?  Will the fans be cordial or still smarting from the disaster that forced the legendary Jerry Sloan to an abrupt retirement?  There is almost no one on this roster remaining that played with Deron for very long while he was here in Utah, so I don’t expect the Jazz players to be looking to that as motivation.

Prediction:

Emotion and fatigue (on the part of the Nets) will play in the outcome of this game early.  I expect it will be sloppy and made shots will be at a premium early.  Eventually, the Jazz will settle down and get the job done.

Jazz win.

 

Denver Nuggets

Location: Energy Solutions Arena – Salt Lake City, Utah

Date: Sunday, January 15, 2012

Time: 6:00 PM   TV: Root Sports

 

Talk about a rough game to have to face on the back end of a back-to-back on the road for the Jazz again.  They’ve already done this rodeo this season, having forgotten to take their game with them to Denver after failing to show up in Los Angeles the night before.  Meanwhile, the Nuggets will be relatively well-rested, having a day off the day before and one after while on a mini home-game stand for four games.

What to watch for:
The Nuggets play fast and forget defense.  They want to score more than their opponent and don’t worry too much about the defense.  They are bottom half in rebounds and points allowed per game.  They distribute the ball well and play good team basketball.

Prediction:

The Jazz will be tired and the Nuggets won’t be.  The game will be one of runs and the Jazz may be in the game still early in the 4th quarter.  But after a few things don’t go their way, the Jazz players will start thinking about the next one at home versus that other LA team in two days and will end up losing this game.

Jazz lose.

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