The Jazz are finally playing like a contender in the Western Confernece. With a win over San Antonio last Wednesday the Jazz completed their first season sweep of the Spurs for the first time in franchise history.
Not too bad…..not too bad at all.
Before that win the Jazz lost a close one to Denver that could have brought them to within a game and a half of the division lead. As predicted though, Denver determined the pace of the game, fast, and won pretty easily, despite the score.
Fast forward to today and we find the New Jersey Nets coming to town to take on a streaking Jazz squad. I'm worried.
I know I know, New Jersey has won only 3 games all season. I know they are probably one of the worst teams in NBA history. I know the Nets don't have anyone that can slow down Deron Williams or Carlos Boozer.
What I also know however, is the Jazz lost two games to the Timberwolves, another league cellar dweller, once at home, and I also know that this is the type of game Utah has the most trouble with. Games they should easily win.
The problem for Utah all year is effort and intensity. When games don't mean much, or lesser talent comes to town and their isn't much to prove, the Jazz don't show up.
For some reason when the Jazz play these horrible teams they get this attitude that they should roll the competition without even trying. They feel like the opposition should just hand over the victory.
News flash. This is the NBA. Everyteam in the league is good. Even the bad teams.
That sounds crazy but it's the truth. Every team in the NBA has, wait for it, NBA Players! What a revelation. When you have NBA players on your team you're pretty good.
New Jersey is bad, but they compete, they have a few good young players. Devin Harris is an All Star Point Guard. He's quick, and he could give Deron Williams trouble on the defensive end. Brook Lopez is a promising young 7 footer who shows alot of promise and should be able to dominate Mehmet Okur all game long.
If the Jazz somehow underestimate this young team they will be in trouble. After Harris and Lopez the Nets don't have much as far as weapons are concerned, but, those guys are good enough to carry New Jersey all game long. If it's close they couild have a chance.
Utah has to play this game like its a playoff game, they have to play it like they were playing the Spurs or Lakers, bring that same effort and intensity. If they do that there won't be any problems.
They have to get out and run when they can, buckle down on defense, and hit their outside shots. Utah has the weapons to make this a blowout, they just have to put in the work.
It will be interesting to see if Utah shows up for this one. We like to think Utah has turned the corner and is poised to make a run at a higher playoff seed in the West.
This game will go a long way in determining if the Jazz have what it takes to play hard every game, despite the opponent.
At this point in the season even the gimme games like this are important,especially in the tightly bunched Western Conference.
With a loss Utah could be on the outside looking in. Lets hope they win it.
Prediction Utah -97 New Jersey- 84
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.