San Antonio Spurs vs. Utah Jazz Preview and Pick

San Antonio Spurs +2 (29-14) at Utah Jazz -2 (25-20) 9 PM ET Tuesday January 27, 2009
By Jason Green at

Tonight the hot San Antonio Spurs travel to Utah to play the reeling Utah Jazz. Even though the Spurs lost their last game, to the Lakers in La La land, they are 7-3 in their last 10 games and they are in 1st place in the Southwest Division. The Jazz are reeling, as they have lost 3 games in a row and are only 5-5 in their last 10 games. If the season ended today the Jazz would not make the playoffs, as they currently are in 9th place in the Western Conference. The Jazz have had injury problems all year, first Deron Williams missed a big chunk of the early season and now Carlos Boozer is out for a few more weeks. On top of that Andrei Kirilenko may have to have foot surgery sooner than expected.

This season the Jazz are 17-5 at home and the Spurs are 12-7 in away games.

Basketball bookies have the Jazz favored by 2 points with a total around 192. The Jazz are posted at -135 as home favorites and the Spurs are posted at +115 as away underdogs.

The Spurs are coming off a loss to the L.A. Lakers on Sunday afternoon. The high scorer for the Spurs in that game was Tony Parker going for 19 points on 8/17 shooting. For the game the Spurs were throwing up bricks, shooting only 33/88 for a horrible FG% of 37.5%. On defense the Spurs allowed the Lakers to shoot 32/69 from the floor for a FG% of 46.4%.

The Jazz are coming off an embarrassing defeat getting crushed by the Denver Nuggets 117-97 on Sunday night. The high scorer for the Jazz in that game was Ronnie Brewer going for 16 points on 7/17 shooting. For the game the Jazz shot 34/84 for a FG% of 40.5%. On defense the Jazz allowed the Nuggets to shoot 42/92 for a FG% of 45.7%.

The Jazz are a better offensive team, but the Spurs are better on the defensive end. The Jazz rank 7th in the league in scoring (101.4 ppg) and the Spurs rank 22nd (96.6 ppg). On D the Spurs rank 6th in points allowed (93.7 ppg) and the jazz rank 17th (99.5 ppg). The Jazz are better on the glass, as they have a rebounding differential of +1.7 and the Spurs are at even.

This season the Spurs are 19-23-1 ATS and the Jazz are 22-23. In terms of Over/Under games the Spurs are 17-25-1 and the Jazz are 24-19-2.

On the injury front the Jazz are banged up, to say the least, as PG Deron Williams, SF Andrei Kirilenko, SF Matt Harpring, and PF Paul Milsap are all day-to-day and PF Carlos Boozer is Out, while the Spurs are not reporting any significant injuries.

Even though the Jazz are banged up they are at home and are one of the best home teams this season. Tonight the Jazz look to avoid their first 4 game losing streak, while the Spurs look to avoid losing their 5th straight in Utah.

The Jazz have forgotten how to play D in their 3 game losing streak, as they have given up an average of 109 ppg in those games.

The PG match up is the one to watch with Deron Williams (16.8 ppg) against Tony Parker (20.3 ppg). If Parker can play good D against Williams then the Spurs will be sitting pretty since the Jazz do not have many scoring options with all of their injuries. Ronnie Brewer (12.8 ppg) also has to shoot the rock well and keep the pressure off Williams at the point.

Paul Milsap is hurt, but he will have to keep Tim Duncan off the boards and give the Spurs second chance opportunities.

Jazz C Mehmet Okur (17.1 ppg) has to step up and score some buckets, but he has been struggling along with the Jazz, as in the last 3 games he is only averaging 8 points on 20.6% shooting in his last 3 games.

The Jazz hope the home crowd can push them to end their 3 game losing streak, but it will not be easy being shorthanded against a, finally, healthy Spurs team.

Jason’s Pick: I like the Spurs to take advantage of Utah’s current situation and steal a road win here.