Utah Jazz (9-23) @ L.A. Clippers (20-11)
Tip Off @ 8:30 p.m. MST
The Jazz are coming into tonight’s game after an emotional win last night in Salt Lake City. Derrick Favors putback dunk with 2.1 seconds left, gave the Jazz the 105-103 victory over the L.A. Lakers. Now one night later, the Jazz face the other L.A. team, and this one is a lot better.
The Clippers come into tonight on a 2 game losing streak after losing by a basket on Christmas day to Golden State, and a 4 point overtime loss to Portland the next night. However, the Clippers have won 6 straight games over the Jazz. During that streak, the Clips have averaged 107.8 points and have shot the ball 49.9% from the field.
The Clippers are also very good at home this season. They already rank 5th in the NBA in scoring at 105.8 points per game, but they up that average even more at home. The Clips have gone 12-2 this season at Staples Center and are scoring about 111.9 points per game.
The Jazz have been improving on the road with a 5-13 record. However, compared to the Clippers home scoring average, the Jazz are going to have their hands full. They are only averaging 92.1 points per game on the road.
Key Matchup : Trey Burke vs Chris Paul
Trey going up against all the great point guards in the league is always going to be an exciting matchup to watch and see what he can do. Tonight though is going to be really interesting. If you remember, back in the pre-season, we had an article talking about how Trey measured up to other point guards their rookie year. Based on measurements such as height, weight, speed, strength, and so forth, Trey and Chris Paul were nearly identical. So the comparisons that Trey could be the next Chris Paul were beginning.
Trey is going to be really good in this league. Is he the next Chris Paul? To me, he could be. He has the drive and desire to be the very best and he is extremely coachable. That, mixed in with an amazing amount of talent, gives me no reason to think otherwise.
However, tonight, Trey is still a rookie and Chris Paul is still the best point guard in the NBA. Trey will definitely have his hands full trying to stop him. In the 6 game winning streak against the Jazz, Chris Paul has averaged 22.2 points per game. On top of that, Paul is one of the best passers in the game, averaging a league leading 11.5 assists per game. Containing Paul, which I don’t know if it is possible, will be a key for the Jazz to keep it close.
To me, on paper, the Jazz look to be completely outmatched tonight. The Clippers as a team rank in the top 5 in the NBA in scoring and assists. Two categories the Jazz struggle breaking out of the worst in the league in. To add to that, the Clippers bench unit is strong. The Jazz have no bench besides Alec Burks and Enes Kanter. Last night, the Lakers bench outscored the Jazz 51-26 and only 3 Jazz men scored.
The Jazz have been improving and are a lot better team than they were a month ago. However, I still don’t think that this is a game the Jazz can win. Playing an elite team in their home building, on the second night of a back-to-back, after an emotional hard fought last second win the night before, just shouts out at me that the Jazz have everything against them tonight. As a fan though, I really hope they prove me wrong and show some fight against a playoff caliber team.
Clippers 109, Jazz 90