The Utah Jazz are coming off a huge win over the LA Clippers. But they must remain focused and take care of business against Detroit on Monday.
After taking care of business in less than reassuring fashion against sub-.500 teams and struggling to compete against elite squads on the road, the Utah Jazz were in dire need of a statement victory. Fortunately, they got just that by earning an impressive win over the LA Clippers on the road on Saturday.
In a game that both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George suited up for whereas Mike Conley remained out for Utah, the Jazz came up huge in the fourth quarter and pulled away to win 120-107. The game saw the Jazz trail by as many as 13, but it also saw them take command in the second half with Donovan Mitchell performing as the best player on the floor for the night.
The win marked Utah’s seventh win in eight games, evidence that they truly are on a hot streak.
However, as the team now heads into a stretch of 10 games against clearly inferior opponents, the Jazz can’t let the emotion of Saturday’s win get the most of them. They have to remain focused, composed and disciplined as they face this next stretch, and they absolutely cannot allow complacency to creep in. That all begins on Monday when the Jazz host the Detroit Pistons within Vivint Arena.
The Pistons have had some surprisingly solid victories this season, so they’re capable of sneaking up on opponents, but in all, they’ve been pretty bad on the year. They hold just a 12-21 record and have lost seven of their last ten games. Andre Drummond has, of course, been a force for the Pistons, but Blake Griffin hasn’t looked right most of the year and has struggled mightily. He’s shooting just 35.2 percent from the field and 24.3 percent from deep.
Outside of Drummond, it’s been Derrick Rose and Luke Kennard who have been among Detroit’s most solid players. Though Kennard finds himself sidelined for the next few games with a knee injury. In fact, the Pistons are by and large the walking wounded (more on that in a moment).
In short, this is a game the Jazz most definitely should win, especially on their home court and with the injuries the Pistons are facing. However, Drummond can cause problems for Rudy Gobert and the Jazz could very well be due for a letdown after an incredible performance on Saturday, so they absolutely have to keep their guard up.
Tip-off: 7:00 PM MT on December 30 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||Detroit Pistons|
|Rudy Gobert||C||Andre Drummond|
|Royce O’Neale||PF||Christian Wood|
|Bojan Bogdanovic||SF||Tony Snell|
|Joe Ingles||SG||Tim Frazier|
|Donovan Mitchell||PG||Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk|
As mentioned previously, Mike Conley remains out for the Jazz with a hamstring injury.
Meanwhile, it’s the Pistons that come into the game significantly shorthanded. Markieff Morris is dealing with a foot issue and will not play against Utah, while Blake Griffin is considered doubtful with left knee soreness. Their absence could very well lead to Christian Wood receiving the starting nod.
As I mentioned, this one has a little bit of a feel of a trap game after such a big win on Saturday, but the Jazz really have no reason dropping this game to such a shorthanded Pistons team, barring a 50-point barrage from Derrick Rose like he put on against the Jazz last season.
I don’t think that’s going to happen, though, so I’m pinning the Jazz as winners in this one. The Action Network has the Jazz as 10.5-point favorites, which I find pretty reasonable. I’m going Utah 120, Detroit 109.
#DETatUTA is the Twitter hashtag for the game and our live comment thread below will be up and rolling throughout the game as well. Go Jazz!