Boston is coming off a win in Portland last night that put them at 40 on the year. They are still fighting with Toronto for the No. 2 seed, which is critical because it could mean avoiding the Bucks until the conference finals, which was their ultimate downfall a season ago.
Jayson Tatum has taken to the leap to stardom, with Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker both playing some stellar basketball alongside him. It’s a team that just cannot be taken lightly right now.
Utah, on the other hand, has been slumping a bit of late. Their recent slide has dropped them into the #5 seed, and they are going to have to start playing better. They are going to need to do all they can to try and get into the top three to avoid the Lakers as long as possible.
The conference is deep, and there will be no easy matchups in the opening round, but that is still going to serve as their best-case scenario. We’ll see how it plays out.
Utah is favored by four points on their home floor tonight. Their moneyline is -174, while Boston is +148.
Boston looking for more road success
They have been as fun to watch as any other team in the league this season. Gordon Hayward broke out at the beginning of the year, while Jaylen Brown followed suit when he went down. And now, it is clear that Jayson Tatum has cemented himself as the best player on the team, All-Star starter Kemba Walker not too far behind him.
The four of them have all been tremendous this year, with the defensive effort of Marcus Smart critical to the success they’ve had. Daniel Theis may be their most underrated player as several people around the league as he continues to hold down the fort on the defensive end.
They’ll need all three of their wings to lock in tonight as the matchup will not be easy. This is a possible breakthrough game for Mike Conley, while Donovan Mitchell and Jordan Clarkson will need to be slowed.
Jazz looking to come away victorious
The return of Conley has pushed Royce O’Neale back into a sixth-man role, and we’ll see how he performs off the bench. Conley has struggled this season, but we’ll see how he is able to perform tonight.
Their real X-factor has been Jordan Clarkson off the bench, continuing to score the ball at will alongside Donovan Mitchell. They and Bojan make the offense go, with Joe Ingles and Rudy Gobert focusing on the defensive end and moving the ball while on offense.
This will be a tough matchup for the likely playoff-bound Jazz, and it is one they need to win. They have to show the league that they can succeed against the likes of the Celtics.
Boston Wins On Road
Thirty-point nights from Tatum and Jaylen Brown will lift Boston to the win.
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