Wow, Dallas, Miami, Cleveland and Milwaukee. What do these four teams have in common? They all are recent victims of the Utah Jazz’s current four game win streak.
It’s important to note the last three games of the win streak have all been at home.
With Denver hosting the Jazz tonight it will be interesting to see if Utah can bring that same energy they’ve had the past four games one the road.
If they can get a win tonight they will move to a game and a half within in the Northwest Division lead. A far cry from where they were a week ago, on the outside looking in of the West Playoff race. Now they are within striking distance of the Northwest division lead and a top 4 seed in the West.
I know I know, alittle too soon to give them the division crown, they still have to win tonight to even be considered one of the top teams in the West.
Right now Denver is on a two game win streak of their own but they’ve struggled as of late as well, especially with injuries.
Birdman Chris Johnson and ‘Melo have all missed time this season, Billups has dealt with some injuries himself and appears a step slower. The key for Denver is how well back up rookie Point Guard Ty Lawson plays when in the game.
Lawson is one of those smaller quicker Guards that Deron Williams has trouble with. D-Will should match up with Chauncey Billups pretty well. I wonder if Denver will try to exploit Deron’s speed and use Lawson a bit more in this one.
It has to be noted though how well ‘Melo has been playing this season and he will be a tough cover for Ronnie Brown and Andrei Kirilenko so I expect Melo to go off tonight. That’s ok though if the Jazz can tighten the reigns on the rest of the team and make Melo beat them on his own.
Melo is good, but he’s no Kobe or Lebron and he can’t single handedly win a game against a solid team like the Jazz.
Part of Utah’s trouble this season has been their effectiveness against the Zone Defense. The most important thing when going against the Zone is shooting well from outside. Kyle Korver is their best outside shooter and now that he’s back healthy the Jazz have been better from the perimeter.
Korver’s been an assassin from the three point line the past 4 games, shooting over 55% and Utah needs some more of that to win tonight.
Utah has been much better on the defensive side of the ball, giving up 96.8 points a game, compared with 106.6 points per game last season. That’s 10 points better in just one season.
Denver is 3rd in the league in scoring with 107 points per game, so tonight will come down to which teams controls the pace. Utah likes to slow it down and run the half court while Denver likes to run as often as they can.
It’s going to be tough for Utah to slow the Nuggets down, and if they can’t it’s going to be a long night for the Jazz.
However, Utah is playing at such a high level right now it might not matter how fast or slow the pace is. As long as Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer play well Utah will always have a chance to win.
The road has not been friendly for the Jazz, with that being said, tonight the Jazz will make a statement on National Television that they can play and beat anybody, at home or on the road.
About the Author
Written by Danny Shapiro
Danny Shapiro is 26 years old, married and a father to 2 boys, who he hopes one day to play MLB and support him and his wife in their old age. Danny's second love, mistress even, is sports and Danny is living his dream of being a sports writer right now, thanks to Prosportsblogging.com.