The Utah Jazz will be in for a tough task as they seek their fourth straight victory on the back end of a back-to-back with Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets in town.
Facing off against the Golden State Warriors no longer carries the weight nor intrigue that it once did when the Utah Jazz and other scrappy teams tried to knock off the clear favorite in the league. Due to catastrophic injuries and player departures, the 2019-20 Warriors now look like a shell of their former selves and the Jazz dealt with them as such in Monday night’s contest.
Despite some ups and downs early in the contest, the Jazz took control in the second quarter and thoroughly dominated the game from there, ending with a 122-108 victory.
However, they’ll be in for a tougher contest in their upcoming bout on Tuesday as not only will they take on a more talented team, but they’ll also be playing on the back end of a back-to-back against a squad that’s fresh.
This next bout comes against Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets who have gotten off to a somewhat surprisingly disappointing start. With Kevin Durant set to be out for the season, no one expected the Nets to fully hit their stride this season, but even without him they’ve looked less than daunting.
The Nets come into Tuesday’s contest just 4-5 as they narrowly hang on to the eighth spot in the East at this early juncture. Perhaps unsurprisingly, their play thus far has largely mirrored the play for which Irving is highly reputed – exceedingly prolific offense, but very little defense.
The Nets are third in the league in points per game at 119.8, fifth in field goal percentage at 47.5 percent, third in three-point percentage at 38.7 percent and sixth in offensive rating at 110.1. On the flip side, they’re a pathetic 25th in defensive rating at 111.5 and 29th in opponent points per game at 121.7.
In other words, their stunning offense has largely been mitigated by horrific defense. They’ve put up big points against opponents, but have also allowed their foes to score at will, resulting in a negative net rating on the season (-1.4).
In other words, as long as the Jazz offense can click as it did in Monday’s win against Golden State, the Jazz should be in good shape against a poor Nets defense. And if Utah’s defense can keep Brooklyn below its usual offensive production, they will be in good shape.
That won’t be easy, though, with Irving averaging a whopping 30 points per game and being capable of going off and taking over games at any moment. Not only that, but he’s joined by studs like Spencer Dinwiddie, Taurean Prince and Joe Harris who are all having great seasons thus far. Meanwhile, fellow young gun Caris LeVert is out of action for Tuesday’s bout with a thumb sprain.
So, while recent results and the Jazz talent advantage should theoretically lead to a Utah win, they’ll have the misfortune of playing on the second night of a back-to-back and the always iffy situation of going up against a superstar in Irving. Thus, while they should be considered the favorite, it will be far from a guaranteed win.
Tip-off: 7:00 PM MT on November 12 from Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, UT
TV: AT&T SportsNet
Radio: The Zone Sports Network (97.5 FM & 1280 AM Salt Lake City)
Projected Starting Lineups
|Utah Jazz||Position||Brooklyn Nets|
|Rudy Gobert||C||Jarrett Allen|
|Royce O’Neale||PF||Taurean Prince|
|Bojan Bogdanovic||SF||Joe Harris|
|Donovan Mitchell||SG||Spencer Dinwiddie|
|Mike Conley||PG||Kyrie Irving|
Ed Davis remains out with the left fibula fracture. Although Dante Exum should be nearing a return, he didn’t suit up on Monday and as of this writing does not figure to be available for Tuesday’s contest either.
For the Nets, they’re of course without Kevin Durant as he recovers from an Achilles tear, while LeVert is out with a thumb sprain. Spencer Dinwiddie could very well get the starting nod in his place.
Per The Action Network, the Utah Jazz are 6.5-point favorites. I think this is a reasonable guess given that it’s the second game in as many nights for the Jazz. I predict the Nets will miss LeVert, and ultimately Utah’s defense, second unit strength and rapidly improving offense will be too much for the Nets to overcome.
I’m pinning the Jazz to win 121-113.
#BKNatUTA will be the Twitter hashtag for the game and be sure to join the discussion in our live comment thread below.