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Game 21 Preview: Blazers at Jazz

Game 21 vs. Jazz

A Look at the Jazz

If there's any good news to this game it's that the Jazz are on a three-game losing streak.  They dropped games to Sacramento, Dallas, and San Antonio.  There are several pieces of bad news:

  1.  That's likely to make them angry tonight.
  2.  They're 8-1 at home.
  3.  Deron Williams' last five games look like this:  35 points, 24 points (and 15 assists), 30 points, 28 points (and 10 assists), 41 points.  That's trouble, especially considering who we're going to defend him with.
  4.  Boozer is averaging 24 ppg in December as well.
  5.  The Jazz are just plain better than we are.
I could go on.  There are a whole host of reasons why we won't win this game.  They shoot 50% as a team and we're not good defensively.  They rebound well and we don't.  They score 107 a game and only give up 100.  We're lucky to score 100.  Everybody on their team draws fouls and almost everybody can shoot them too.  Basically this game is one of those "OK, the engines just cut out on the plane...what are my chances of surviving?" kind of games.

What I'd Like to See

  1.  The Jazz can shoot outside but don't that much.  Mehmet Okur is having an off season.  Of course a lot of shooters who are having off seasons mysteriously get better against Portland.  But if you have to pick one of their big three--Williams, Boozer, and Okur--to let shoot, make it Mehmet.
  2.  I think if we are to have any chance in this game we have to by hyper-aggressive on the boards.  You can't give a team shooting 50% a lot of extra shots.
  3.  We also have to ugly this game up.  Pack the lane tight and make them work for their points instead of spending all night in the paint.  If they're getting buckets inside we are dead in the water.  I don't see much hope of this happening, but one can dream.
  4.  Our distance shooters better be on.  We need a ton of threes to fall tonight.  We have to manufacture extra points somewhere and that seems the most likely.
  5.  The Jazz will let you pass the ball.  Unselfishness is one of our strengths.  Everybody has to hit the shots they're given because with Aldridge out they're going to try and shut down Roy and he won't see many open looks.  This would be a great night for Blake, Jones, Travis, and Martell to come through again.  Channing Frye MUST hit a lot of shots too.
  6.  When all else fails just hustle.  Never give up, never surrender.
--Dave (