Utah Jazz (1-0) vs Portland Trailblazers (0-2)
Century Link Arena – Boise, Idaho
Tip Off @ 7:00 P.M.
TV : None
Projected Starting Lineups
Utah Jazz Portland Trailblazers
PG – Trey Burke PG – Damion Lillard
SG – Gordon Hayward SG – Wesley Matthews
SF – Richard Jefferson SF – Nicolas Batum
PF – Derrick Favors PF – Lamarcus Aldridge
C – Enes Kanter C – Robin Lopez
Key Matchup : Trey Burke vs Damian Lillard
This is one of what can be many interesting matchups for Trey Burke. The first preseason game, Trey went up against one of the most skilled point guards in the league in Steph Curry. Trey handled it well as he played pretty good defense on Curry and kept him in front of him for most the time that Curry was on the floor. Now Trey gets one of the best up and coming point guards in the league, as he goes up against last years Rookie of the Year, Damian Lillard.
The fact that Lillard won Rookie of the Year last year makes this matchup a little more exciting because Trey has said that the Rookie of the Year award is something he wants to win this season. Playing well against the player who won it last year would help his cause.
Lillard is a lot like Trey in the styles that they play. Both players play more of a scoring point guard role and both have good floor vision. Good matchup for Trey. Hopefully both play a few more minutes tonight.
What To Watch For
The big man battle should be an exciting thing to watch in this game. Derrick Favors will get to match up with All-Star, Lamarcus Aldridge. It will be interesting to see if Favors can play with the same impact that he did the other night on the defensive end. If he can block a couple shots early, it could force Aldridge to look for different ways to find his shot. Could be interesting to see if Favors can alter the way Aldridge plays.
At the other big man position, Enes Kanter will have the opportunity to go up against the “other” Lopez brother, Robin Lopez. Kanter should be able to take advantage of this opportunity. Lopez, however, is a good defensive big man. Kanter should still be able to take advantage of him and not have too many issues winning this battle.
After watching the first preseason game, the Jazz bench looked solid, and also a lot deeper than I think we all expected. This will be a tougher test though for the bench unit. The Warriors bench is not as good as last year, as they lost Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry in free agency. Also, Harrison Barnes did not play. Portland’s bench however, is better than the Warriors.
Jazz fans will recognize 2 of the bench players on this Blazers team, as Mo Williams and Earl Watson were signed to the team in free agency this offseason. The Blazers drafted shooting guard Allen Crabbe, and added power forward Thomas Robinson in free agency to play alongside Meyers Leonard in the middle off the bench.
The bench play might be where Portland sees a small advantage. John Lucas III, I think, is a better back up than Mo Williams. Alec Burks should play with the same aggression and again be a big spark off the bench. Portland’s big men off the bench might be where the advantage is for their bench play.
This game being played in Boise, Idaho will not be televised. However, you can listen to the game on 1280 The Zone. I will also be at the game, tweeting game updates throughout. You can follow me for those updates on Twitter at @codytpowers.
The game is nearly sold out. Being in Boise, which is basically in the middle of Portland and Utah, there should be a slight mixture of Jazz and Blazers fans. Should be a good atmosphere.
If the Jazz bench unit can maintain the same play that they had the other night, the Jazz should be able to win. Our offensive starters match up well with Portland. Also, defensively, the Jazz will be able to alter shots and disrupt Portland’s offense. Portland is a good outside shooting team. The Jazz will need to focus on the perimeter defense to keep Portland out of the game.
This game could be a close game. I see the game being within 5 points late in the game, with the Jazz’s defense pulling out the win. Jazz win by 7 in Boise.