Utah Jazz (1-12) @ Dallas Mavericks (8-4)
Tip Off @ 6:30 p.m. MST
TV : Root Sports
Projected Starting Lineups
PG – John Lucas III
SG – Gordon Hayward
SF – Richard Jefferson
PF – Derrick Favors
C – Enes Kanter
PG – Jose Calderon
SG – Monta Ellis
SF – Shawn Marion
PF – Dirk Nowitzki
C – Samuel Dalembert
The Mavericks went after Dwight Howard in the off season pretty hard. They wanted him. After Howard snubbed the Mavs and decided to sign with the Houston Rockets, the Mavs went out and got another big name free agent who has turned out to be a huge win for them this season. Monta Ellis has gotten off to a fantastic start to the season. Last game against the Rockets, Ellis went off for 37 points in the win. Ellis gives Dallas a nice 1-2 punch with him and Dirk Nowitzki.
The Mavs rank 3rd in the NBA in scoring at 107.2 points per game. They also are ranked in the top 10 in the league in assists at 23.7 per game. While they have been great offensively, the Mavs have not been as great on the defensive end. The Mavs rank 27th in points allowed, giving up 104.2 per game. They also rank 22nd in rebounding, grabbing 41.5 boards per game.
The Jazz are looking to avoid their 5th loss in a row. The Jazz are coming into tonight after falling on the road in New Orleans on Wednesday night, 105-98. On that night, the Jazz had some good things happen for them. Trey Burke made his NBA debut for the Jazz and was productive. Burke played 12 minutes off the bench and ended up with 11 points, 1 assist, and 1 rebound on 5-8 shooting from the field and 1-2 from 3. Burke could start to see an increase in minutes tonight as he was limited to 10-12 minutes on Wednesday. Marvin Williams had surgery to reshape his broken nose on Thursday. He will rejoin the team for tonight’s game. Gordon Hayward had a historically bad shooting night, going 1-17 from the floor. However, he ended the game with a new career high in assists, dishing out 11.
The Jazz played pretty well from my perspective. They did a lot of nice things and was in the game the entire time, even with Hayward having a terrible shooting night. If Hayward scored like he has all season, the Jazz would’ve been looking at a win. Tonight they look to try and get that 2nd win of the season on the 2nd game of their current 3 game road trip.
Key Matchup : Gordon Hayward vs Monta Ellis
As mentioned before, Hayward had a terrible shooting night on Wednesday. So terrible, that it actually ranks as the worst statistical shooting performance in Jazz history. I look for Hayward to change that tonight against a Dallas team that is not great defensively. As Hayward said in his post game interview, “Shooters are gonna keep shooting, and that’s what I’m gonna keep doing.” On the road this season, Hayward is leading the team with 18.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 5.6 assists per game. Tonight though, his defense could be what the Jazz need the most from him.
Hayward will be going against a guy that he is bigger than, but probably not as quick as. Ellis is quick and knows how to score the basketball. He loves to score the ball at home too. At home, his averages go up to 26.7 points and 7.3 assists per game. He also loves to play against the Jazz. In his last 2 seasons in the league, Ellis has played 4 games against the Jazz, averaging 28 points per game.
If the Jazz have any chance of being in this game, how Hayward defends Ellis will be the biggest factor. Dirk against Derrick is another key factor, but you know that Dirk is going to score when he wants. Favors is a good defender, but stepping out and defending a big man that can shoot perimeter shots is something he hasn’t been good at yet.
The bench for the Jazz is starting to get some healthy pieces back. Trey Burke is coming off the bench to slowly work his way back from a broken finger. Alec Burks has been moved back to the 6th man role. Marvin Williams will be returning from his broken nose surgery. Jeremy Evans returned from a rotor cuff injury and went 4-4 from the field. His jump shot looked good and if he can produce off the bench, that will be a big help. Also, per Jody Genessey of the Deseret News, Coach Corbin has said that both Andris Biedrins and Brandon Rush are getting very close to getting back on the court. Once that happens, the Jazz’s bench will look a lot better than it does right now.
The Jazz bench will need to watch out for the Mavs 6th man, Vince Carter. Carter has played in all but one game this season for Dallas, averaging 11.2 points in 23.4 minutes. The Mavs also have another guy on their bench that is a big piece, DeJuan Blair. Blair is putting up 8.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, while shooting the ball 56% from the field. The Mavs also have a guy coming off their bench that was in a lot of pre-draft mocks going to the Jazz, Shane Larkin.
The Jazz bench is going to be better once they are healthy and have the pieces back that they thought they would have going into the season. For now, they still are looking to get healthy and aren’t quite there yet. The bench will play better with Burke and Williams being back, though.
The Jazz will need to step up on the defensive end big time if they want to have any chance of winning this game. Dallas gives their home crowd their moneys worth every game. So far, the Mavs are 6-0 at home and are scoring 112.8 points per game there. The Jazz on the other hand, have not won a game on the road yet and are scoring only 87 points per game on the road. This is going to be a tough game for the Jazz to win, but I expect Hayward to play better tonight than he did on Wednesday. You can’t really shoot much worse than that. However, I think the Jazz will still struggle against a team that plays so well at home and can score like the Mavs do. The Jazz might put up a fight for awhile, but in the end, the Mavs just might be too much to deal with offensively.
Mavericks 109, Jazz 93