Team Records: Utah (4-16) at Portland (16-3)
Game Info: 7 PM-TV on CSNNW, Radio on 620 AM.
Vegas Line: Portland -12
The Skinny: At the start of a rare home back to back the Blazers face one of the NBA’s worst teams, the Utah Jazz. The Jazz may have been a bit better of late, playing .500 ball the last handful of games but make no mistake they stink. Its all about building to the future for Utah.
Last Season: Utah won the season series 3-1 last year.
Projected Jazz Lineup:
PF-Richard Jefferson (Arizona-13th Season) 10 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 1.9 APG.
SF-Marvin Williams (North Carolina-9th Season)-10.4 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 1.1 APG.
C-Derek Favors (Georgia Tech-4th Season)-13.2 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 1.5 APG
SG-Gordon Hayward (Butler-4th Season)-16.9 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 5 APG.
PG-Trey Burke (Michigan-Rookie)-12.6 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 3.4 APG.
Player to Watch-Trey Burke (pictured at right)-Last March’s college star for Michigan is now Utah’s new point guard of the future. Burke has a ton of offensive potential, with a deadly shot and an ability to create off the dribble. He’s not a typical point guard and he’s a bit undersized and needs to add a bit of strength but he can still be effective. The big question for Burke is on defense, where many believe he will struggle to guard many top quality NBA guards. Still, he may be no star but he’ll be a solid player for years to come.
Did You Know?: The Utah Jazz have only missed the playoffs five times since the 1983-84 season and have only had a losing record once during that span.
Song of the Day: “Time of Your Life” by Green Day-This season has certainly been one hell of a ride for the Blazers so I thought I’d break out one of my favorite songs. Enjoy:
Portland: Out-PG CJ McCollum (Foot)
This Jazz team flat stinks, at pretty much everything to be honest. Utah is 27th in offensive efficiency and dead last in defensive efficiency and those numbers pretty much tell the tale. Utah can’t score very well, from pretty much anywhere on the court. About the only thing they do well on offense is offensive rebound, which they certainly have plenty of chances at since they miss a lot of shots. On defense, Utah plays the vaunted matador defense, simply shouting “Ole” and getting out of the way of anyone who wants to attack them. Trey Burke’s return from injury has improved them slightly but they have the NBA’s worst point differential for a reason, and that reason is that they are an awful team whose hopes lie in the future and not in the present.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They keep their focus. This is a bad Utah team and Portland can’t let the Jazz believe they have a shot. If the Blazers are focused, they should roll.
Utah wins if: They get really lucky. Even then it may not be enough for the woeful Jazz to win in Portland.