The Utah Jazz look to get back-to-back victories against the San Antonio Spurs, who they welcome back to the Vivint Smart Home Arena. The Jazz (47-18) beat the Spurs 110-99 as 7½-point favorites a two nights ago and they’ll be slightly smaller here at seven points, per the NBA lines.
I don’t see much changing in Wednesday’s game as Utah once again clobbers San Antonio (31-33) by using their size, rebounding prowess and dead-eye three-point shooting.
Spurs: Slipping Away
The San Antonio Spurs have lost four straight and are barely clinging on to the final playoff spot with a two-game lead over the New Orleans Pelicans. A loss here could be damning for San Antonio, which looks to return to the playoffs after missing out last season.
The good news for the Spurs is that they’ve been in several of their recent losses. They lost by a combined 10 points to Miami, Boston,and Philadelphia. But the bad news is they’re all losses and highlight this team’s inability to close out games.
They blew a 32-points lead to the Celtics and couldn’t complete the comeback against Philadelphia. San Antonio is 7-7 in one-possession outcomes and only 2-5 in overtime. Maybe it’s this team’s lack of rebounding or lack of go-to scoring options outside of DeMar DeRozan.
But the Spurs have their backs against the wall and badly need a win against Utah, a team they haven’t beaten in three straight games dating to last season. They’ll need to shoot a little bit better and minimize their mistakes as Utah has their number with second-chance opportunities.
Jazz: Do it Big
The Utah Jazz pushed their NBA-best home record to 28-4 with a resounding win over the Spurs. Despite still missing guards Mike Conley (hamstring) and Donovan Mitchell (ankle), Utah has been on a roll in its last four games.
Utah’s strength is its ability to win the battle on the perimeter, as driven by its strong frontcourt. Center Rudy Gobert is having another fine season with 14.4 points, 10.1 rebounds and 2.8 blocks. He leads the team in win shares (10.3) thanks to his defensive presence.
“I feel free here.”
Jordan Clarkson has found a home with the Jazz. The two sides needed what the other could offer.
And in his breakout season, @JordanClarksons isn’t forgetting where he came from.
The Athletic (@TheAthletic) May 5, 2021
Gobert is helped by forward Royce O’Neale, who has been a stalwart on defense as well as forward Derrick Favors and, surprisingly, guard Jordan Clarkson. The Sixth Man of the Year front-runner is best known for his scoring prowess, but he’s transformed himself into a pesky defender.
With Gobert and Favors locking down the paint, the Jazz are able to better hound the perimeter. This setup generally works against most teams, especially if they have a hard time scoring inside.
Size matters. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise as the Utah Jazz make short work of the smaller Spurs. Both of Utah’s strengths (rebounding and three-point shooting) were on display against San Antonio in both meetings.
Utah decimated the Spurs with 32 threes while the Spurs have only managed 11. The Jazz have also outrebounded San Antonio by 35. Gobert feasted on the Spurs the last game with 24 points, 15 boards, three blocks, and 10-of-14 shooting from the field.
The Spurs won’t have answers for Gobert or forward Bojan Bogdanovic who also shredded them with 25 points. DeRozan did what he could with 22 points and six assists, but he had little help with the thin and inexperienced San Antonio lineup.
It should be another comfortable win for the Jazz. Bet them to shut down San Antonio and its limited offense as they sweep the season series.
Pick: Utah Jazz -7