Utah Jazz (19-33, 12-14 home) vs Brooklyn Nets (24-27, 8-16 road)
Tip Off @ 7:00 p.m. MST
Season Series 2 of 2 (Brooklyn 1-0)
The Utah Jazz were on their best winning streak of the season, winning three straight games, and then the All-Star break came. Now after having a week off, the Jazz come back to play a Brooklyn Nets team that is playing very well in 2014. However, as of late, the Nets are struggling on the road.
The Jazz could be without two of their starters tonight. Derrick Favors, who strained his right hip in last weeks game against the Philadelphia 76ers, is listed as a game-time decision for tonight. Richard Jefferson could possibly miss tonight’s game due to stomach cramps.
This will be the second matchup of the season between these two teams. The Jazz visited Brooklyn early in the season and got blown out, 104-88. As ugly as that game was, the game was extremely early in the season for Utah, and the Jazz were also playing in that early stretch without their rookie point guard, Trey Burke. This game will more than likely be a much better game to watch than it was back in November.
Key Matchup : Trey Burke vs Deron Williams
Tonight is the third time that Deron Williams has visited Utah since being traded from the Jazz to the Nets. So far, in the first two games played in Utah, Williams has came up short and left his old stomping grounds with a loss. However, this Nets team has much more talent than his other Nets teams did.
Deron spent six seasons with the Jazz, and no one can deny that they were pretty good years. However, tonight, we will get to see a matchup of the Jazz point guard of the past against the Jazz point guard of the future. Trey Burke was probably glad to see the All-Star break come, as he was struggling in the last few games before the break.
Trey, however, got to participate in All-Star weekend by playing in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge and the Taco Bell Skills Challenge. Paired with Damian Lillard of the Portland Trailblazers, Trey won the Skills Challenge and represented Utah well. Afterwards, Trey said that the honor of getting to participate at All-Star weekend made him focused moving forward in the rest of the season. Tonight, we will get to see how focused it made him as his first test is a pretty big one.
The All-Star break could be a good thing for some, and a pretty bad thing for others. For the Jazz as a team, you hope the break wasn’t bad because it stopped their winning streak. As for players like Alec Burks, who scored 50 points combined in the Jazz’s last two games, you hope he can continue that. For players like Gordon Hayward, you would think that the break will help as he was in quite a shooting slump headed to the break.
The Nets haven’t won a game in Utah since 2008. The last four meetings in Utah, the Jazz have won by an average of 16.3 points. However, as I stated earlier, this Brooklyn team is a lot more talented than past teams that have visited Utah. If the Jazz end up missing two of their starters tonight, it could be a struggle.
The Jazz will need to see another big game out of Alec Burks who was playing well before the beak. Hopefully we can see him continue the roll he was on. However, the defense struggles when Favors is not on the court. I think that Brooklyn has a pretty good shot at breaking their losing streak tonight, but it all depends on what kind of Jazz team we see tonight. If they’re still in “break mode”, it could be a long night.
Nets 99, Jazz 94