The Utah Jazz have been twice defeated by the San Antonio Spurs this season, but they have a chance to hit two birds with one stone this Saturday.
A win over the Spurs would not only give Utah some measure of revenge for their previous losses at the hands of Gregg Popovich’s team, but also further hurt San Antonio’s playoff chances.
Catch this game live on August 8 at 1 AM (Manila time).
HOME TEAM: San Antonio Spurs (29-38, 17-15 at home)
The Spurs’ playoff hopes took a blow on Thursday thanks to a 132-126 loss to the Denver Nuggets. The Spurs had no answer to the pair of Nikola Jokic and Michael Porter Jr., who had 30 and 25 points, respectively.
San Antonio missed the services of LaMarcus Aldridge, who’s currently recovering from a shoulder surgery that happened in June. In lieu of Aldridge, the Spurs have been giving Jakob Poeltl increased minutes as part of the starting rotation, but the former Utah Utes big man coughed up just 2 points against Denver.
Poeltl will not be dealing with Gobert this Saturday, so maybe he won’t look as useless and impotent on offense as he did versus the Nuggets. San Antonio also didn’t have Alridge in its 127-120 win at home against the Jazz, and instead relied on the hot hands of DeMar DeRozan, who scattered 38 points across 37 minutes of mid-range and free-throw shooting clinic. DeRozan had 18 points and 8 assists in the loss to Denver.
ROAD TEAM: Utah Jazz (43-25, 21-14 on the road)
Joe Ingles was not going to let Utah’s skid hit three games, as he led the Jazz with 25 points in Thursday’s 124-115 win against Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies. Donovan Mitchell shot 7 of 18 for 18 points, while Mike Conley went 6 of 13 for 23 points.
The Jazz’s outside shooting was on point in the Memphis game, as they sank 18 treys on 45 attempts. It was a nice piece of stat to look at for the Jazz, who had been cold in the previous three games from behind the arc. In four games inside the Orlando bubble, the Jazz are shooting just 30.1 3FG%. On the season, however, the Jazz are second with a 37.8 3FG%.
However, the Jazz are going to miss lots of bodies in their upcoming game. Conley, Mitchell, Royce O’Neale, Nigel Williams-Goss, and Rudy Gobert have all been ruled out for the Spurs date due to various reasons. Ingles has right foot soreness, but he’s labeled available.
The reserves definitely have to step up for the Jazz. Emmanuel Mudiay, Jordan Clarkson, and Georges Niang should all get heavier minutes than usual. Clarkson had 20 points in 29 minutes in the January loss to San Antonio.
The Spurs’ defense has the toughness of a wet paper bag of late, with the team allowing 264 points in its last two games. Having seemingly recovered their 3-point accuracy, the Jazz, despite lack of manpower, should be able to torch San Antonio’s D in a 110-107 win.