Utah Jazz (13-27) @ Detroit Pistons (16-22)
Tip Off @ 5:30 p.m. MST
TV : Root Sports
In the last 15 games against Detroit, the Pistons only have 1 win, which came in a 120-116 shootout back in 2011. However, those Pistons didn’t have Josh Smith. In his last 8 games with the Hawks against the Jazz, Smith averaged 18.6 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. The Hawks won 7 out of those 8 games. Detroit is coming into tonight riding a 2 game winning streak after previously being on a 6 game losing skid. In their last game, Detroit won in thrilling fashion over the Phoenix Suns, as Smith hit a driving bank shot with 1.2 seconds left to win the game.
The Jazz have been playing great basketball. They are, however, coming into tonight after falling to the Spurs in San Antonio, 109-105. The Jazz trailed in that game by as many as 18 before mounting a serious comeback. The Jazz have been playing for the last few games without their leading scorer in Gordon Hayward. Hayward has been dealing with a left hip flexor that has kept him out of the lineup. He has been traveling with the team on their current 3 game road trip, but is still listed as a game-time decision for tonight’s game. Before Hayward went down, he was averaging 27.0 points per game in his last 3 games.
Key Matchup : Trey Burke
Trey is coming off of a game where he struggled from the field for most of the game. However, Trey ended up scoring 11 points in the 4th quarter to help kick the Jazz on their comeback try. This game though, will mean a lot for Trey. As everyone knows by now, Trey attended the University of Michigan where he won the college National Player of the Year award, and led the Wolverines to the NCAA Championship game where they fell to the Louisville Cardinals.
Trey will be matched up against a very quick point guard in Brandon Jennings. Jennings is having a nice year, leading the Pistons in scoring and assists at 16.6 points and 8.5 assists per game. However, I believe that this game is going to be one that Trey shines in. There is always added motivation when you are playing in front of friends and family. Trey had a fantastic career at Michigan and judging from his Twitter and Instagram account, he is excited to be back. I’m looking for Trey to show up big tonight, and that is going to be great news for the Jazz. The Jazz are 12-16 when Trey is in the lineup. Also, when Trey scores 20 or more points, the Jazz are 5-1. Look for that kind of outing from Trey tonight.
The Pistons have a pretty good roster when you look at them on paper. The Jazz might struggle a bit on the defensive end with them because they start two guys down low that are pretty big in Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe. The Jazz might actually bode well on the offensive end with their stretch 4 lineup, but I’m not expecting the Jazz to win much of the rebounds tonight.
Enes is coming off of a spectacular game against the Spurs. He needs to be on the court more than he is. He was a rebounding machine in the Jazz last game, and the Jazz will need that going against the two twin towers in Detroit.
With Trey being back in Michigan, I think this will be one of his best games of the season. Detroit had an opportunity to draft him at #8 in the draft, where he could have played in front of the Michigan faithful every night, but they passed on him. That might add a little more added motivation.
With the Jazz playing as good of basketball as they have of late, I like their chances in this game. Jazz pull off the road win!
Jazz 101, Pistons 97