Utah Jazz (24-53, 16-22 home) vs Dallas Mavericks (47-31, 22-17 road)
Tip Off @ 7:00 p.m. MST
Regular Season Series Game 4 of 4 (Mavericks lead 3-0)
The visiting Dallas Mavericks are looking for a few different things when the visit the Jazz tonight in Salt Lake City. They are looking to get a win to keep a hold of their current playoff positioning, because a loss would tie them with the Phoenix Suns. They are currently on a four game road trip, which they are currently 3-0. They will be looking to try and make it a clean sweep tonight. Also, the Mavericks have won all three games against the Jazz this season. Tonight, they go for the season series sweep against the Jazz.
The Jazz, with five games currently left on their schedule for the season, are in a close battle with the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers in the race for the lottery. With the Lakers also in action tonight, the Jazz would need a loss to stay ahead of them. A win by the Jazz could possibly tie the Lakers. The Jazz enter tonight’s game having lost on Sunday to the Golden State Warriors by 28 points. They will have a tough time rebounding against a Mavericks team fighting for the playoffs.
Key Match Up: Containing Dirk
I’ve talked about it before, that any of these key match ups is easier said than done, and this one is no exception. The Jazz have been destroyed by letting Dirk Nowitzki get going against them in the past. In fact, over the last 18 games against the Jazz, Dirk has averaged 26.6 points per game on 56.7% shooting. The Jazz are already going to have a tough time beating this Dallas team, but if they don’t try and contain Dirk a little bit, they could be in a world of trouble again tonight.
The Jazz will most likely be starting Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter on the low post tonight. Marvin Williams could be out for the game as he has been reported to have knee inflammation. If Favors has to match up on Dirk, it could be a tough night for Favors. Derrick has trouble defending players that like to play around the perimeter. Dirk will pull Favors away from the basket, and in doing so, can make it so Favors has no real defensive impact on the game. If this does happen, Dallas could get some easy baskets around the rim.
As I stated in the key match up, if Favors is pulled away from the basket by Dirk, he doesn’t have the same kind of defensive impact he has when he plays close to the rim. I expect Dirk to have another big game against the Jazz tonight, but I’m hoping that the Jazz can at least show a little bit of fight.
The Mavericks will win this game. The Jazz will get one loss closer in the lottery. Most Jazz fans will be pretty satisfied with that.
Mavericks 104, Jazz 93