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Utah Preview

Still catching up from being gone so I don't have time to do a full preview.  In a nutshell...

What Utah's good at:

The Jazz are great shooters (led by Carlos Boozer's 54% clip) not so much because of their great individual talent, but because they work hard to get the ball to the right people in the right places.  They feed off of their assists.  They score a ton of points off of reasonably few possessions.  They're also a great rebounding team.

What Utah's not good at:

They're neither a deep shooting team nor great at defending the deep shot.  In fact outside of Andre Kirilenko (who can defend anyone, anywhere) they're not that good at perimeter defense, period.  They give up a lot of points for a Jerry Sloan team and they don't force a lot of turnovers or cheap points.

What Portland needs to do:

This is going to be a tough game.  Utah's big three are Boozer, center Mehmet Okur, and point guard Deron Williams.  First Zach has to equal everything Boozer does offensively and on the boards.  Second our centers (and we may have to go small here...Aldridge?  Outlaw?) have to make it tougher for Okur to score from range.  Third, you make Williams their main scorer instead of the set-up man.  If you do all that, if your smaller lineup can outrun the Jazz down the court for a couple fast breaks, and if Kirilenko doesn't kill you because you forgot to plan for him, then maybe you have a chance.

Don't forget...

...that following this game the December jersey winner will be announced!  Because of the holiday this last week of the month we're holding off on announcing the January contest until the 2nd.

--Dave (