Looking ahead to tonight’s game against the Sacramento Kings, the Utah Jazz might be in a little bit of trouble. Why? Because they will be without arguably their two best players, Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer.
Williams, who was just announced to his first All-Star Game, will be at a funeral in West Virginia, mourning the loss of his uncle. Boozer, who is walking on crutches as I write this post, will be sidelined for about 10 days because of a strained right calf, which he injured against Portland on an inbound pass.
That being said, the Jazz will need some contributions from their bench. Players like Paul Millsap, Ronnie Price, C.J. Miles, Sundiata Gaines, and Wesley Matthews will all need to step up their games and try to do their best to fill in for their absent teammates. Of course, to be exact replicas of Williams and Boozer is something that is impossible, but they will need to bring what they can to the table and do it to the best of their abilities.
A positive note for Utah is that they will be at home, which means that the X-Factor (the fans) can give them some kind of an edge over Sacramento. Another positive sign for Utah, especially for you superstitious fans out there, is that they will be wearing the green jerseys tonight. And just for the record, they are undefeated when they don the green uniforms.
The Jazz can really use all of the advantages they can get, as the Kings are much-improved from last season. Specifically, the Kings are getting a lot of production out of Tyreke Evans, who is on pace to win the Rookie of The Year Award. The Jazz are no strangers to ‘Reke either. Last time these teams met, the Kings beat the Jazz by a score of 104-99, behind Evans’ 32 points and 7 assists. If he comes anywhere near those numbers in this game, the Jazz could be in a world of trouble.
This time around, though, the Jazz will key-in on Evans and try to get him to pass the ball by forcing him into heavily pressured situations. They would rather other players beat them, and they are willing to face those consequences if they do arise. If they are successful in their attempts to get Evans to get rid of the ball, the Jazz could have a good shot at stealing this game because I don’t think that the Kings are deep enough. (The reason I say ”stealing” is because they are going to be without their two big guns. If you can get a win despite that, I will consider that a steal, especially against an improved Kings team. It is definitely not a knock on the Jazz).
– After his MRI, Boozer said that his injury is not as bad as he thought when it popped on inbound play.
– The Utah Jazz will be honoring long-time broadcaster, “Hot” Rod Hundley at halftime. He has spent 35 seasons with the Jazz, and he has called 3,051 games for them.