The Utah Jazz try to keep pace in the race at the top of the Western Conference standings when they visit the San Antonio Spurs Wednesday. Utah is a half-game behind the Clippers for second place in the Western Conference, while the Spurs have lost three straight to drop down to ninth in the standings.
This will feel weird for the Jazz, having been a part of Kobe Bryant’s final NBA game in which he scored 60, trying to take the court again. Playing a Houston team without its starting backcourt and center, they managed to find a way to take the loss and allow Eric Gordon to score 50 on Monday.
It is a long year, and their record over the past five weeks is still as good as that of any other NBA team. But they will need to rebound with better play Wednesday night.
San Antonio, on the other hand, is 0-2 this week, and it has to be hard for Gregg Popovich, who had such a great rivalry with the Lakers in his day, to play knowing Kobe is no longer around. They lost an emotional game to the Raptors on Sunday and have lost three straight.
The Spurs sit 2.5 games behind the Grizzlies for the eighth spot in the West and could still consider rebuilding with the trading deadline only a week away. There are plenty of moves they can make.
The spread for Wednesday night’s game favors Utah by 4.5 points, with the moneyline set at Utah -208 and San Antonio +170.
In The Middle Of A Race
While it was tough to play on Sunday, there isn’t an excuse for Rudy Gobert struggling while matched up with Danuel House Jr. and PJ Tucker. This is a talented team, and many have argued Gobert as the best center in the league this season. A performance like that will not be forgotten, and though he played under tough circumstances, he is going to have to be better.
The Jazz have one of the best bench backcourts in the league now with Mike Conley and Jordan Clarkson, as Conley was not cutting it while serving as a starter. Clarkson has been scoring well on the second unit.
Joe Ingles has provided consistent shooting for Utah, while also continuing his tremendous passing and defense. The same has been true of Royce O’Neale. Donovan Mitchell and Bojan Bogdanovic continue to lead the way in scoring.
Needing A Win
For the second game in a row, the Spurs will be without LaMarcus Aldridge, who had been starting to play some great basketball. He has a lot of talent and ability to score from anywhere, so he is going to be missed. It is not the first time he has dealt with a thumb injury before, but last time he did not miss any games.
That will add more pressure to DeMar DeRozan to have a huge game to lift the team to the win, so we’ll see if he’s able to do just that in this one.
San Antonio has shooters around him as the team has been working on the deep ball. Can the Spurs finally snap out of it?
Spurs Pull The Upset
It will be a much-needed win for the Spurs, as they snap a three-game skid. Take San Antonio +4.5.
Free Play: SAS +4.5
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