Utah Jazz Weekly Preview

Toronto Raptors

Location: Energy Solutions Arena – Salt Lake City, Utah

Date: Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Time: 7:00 PM   TV: Root Sports

The Raptors are 4-13 and two of those wins are over the Cleveland Cavaliers.  As of Sunday’s game at the Clippers, the best player, Andrea Bargnani had not played in 5 straight games due to a strained calf muscle.  The Raptors are playing in Phoenix tonight and will be arriving in the early morning hours to prepare for the second leg of their back-to-back road trip.

What to watch for:

This is not a very good team and if Bargnani is still sitting, don’t expect much of a contest.  They’ll be getting in late as it is and the Jazz will be playing for the first time in four days.  I’d expect the Jazz will have most of the starters on the bench for much of the 4th quarter.  The only thing that could make this interesting is if the team allows itself to wander mentally towards a Friday rematch in Dallas after letting the last one get away.  This game has the makings to be a trap game.

Prediction:

I don’t think Corbin will allow this to be a trap game.  This team will be focused and ready and will make quick work of the Raptors.

Jazz win.

Dallas Mavericks

Location: American Airlines Arena – Dallas, TX

Date: Friday, January 27, 2012

Time: 6:30 PM   TV: Root Sports

I wrote last week about the Mavericks and it isn’t like much has changed.  After dropping the Los Angeles two-step last week, the Mavs rebounded and in an unlikely finish to a chippy affair by beating the Jazz in SLC.

What to watch for:

The Mavs won’t be coming into town in the wee early hours of the morning this time, in fact, they’ll have had a day of rest like the Jazz will after matching up against the Timberwolves at home while the Jazz are playing Toronto.  Tempers flew between Dirk Nowitzki and Derrick Favors and that resulted in a Favors ejection and fine a few moments later when his frustration boiled over and he kicked the ball into the stands.  You can bet the altercation will be fresh in his mind and that of the Jazz and this game will be emotion-filled once again.

Prediction:

This game will still be fun to watch but what will be most interesting to watch will be the how the Jazz handle life on the road, albeit for only one game.  This will be their first road game since beating Denver over two weeks prior.  The Mavs have a matchup against in-state rival San Antonio on Sunday so it will be interesting to see if they are looking past Utah at all.  I don’t think they will.

Jazz lose.

Sacramento Kings

Location: Energy Solutions Arena – Salt Lake City, Utah

Date: Saturday, January 28, 2012

Time: 7:00 PM   TV: Root Sports, NBA TV

Jimmer returns!  The only intrigue for this game is the return of The Jimmer.  The Kings are 6-12, have already fired their coach, and dealt with demands from their prima donna sophomore, DeMarcus Cousins who seems to be living up to what most draft experts believed of him – an incredibly talented but extremely selfish basketball player who only cares about himself.

What to watch for:

The Jimmer.  Will he be happy playing back in Utah again where he dominated the opposition last year on his way to winning the consensus National Player of the Year award or will he keep playing as poorly as he has this season, averaging 35% from the field and only 33% from three?  The Jazz will be coming in from Dallas early in the morning while the Kings will be rested.

Prediction:

The key to this game will be watching how the Jazz backcourt deals with the Kings backcourt.  Starter Devin Harris hasn’t exactly been able to stop anyone and this team is dominated by its starting guards.  If the Jazz can keep Marcus Thornton and Tyreke Evans in check, they should be just fine.

Jazz win.

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