Scouting the Jazz (again): Will Spurs’ depth shine in Utah?

After holding onto a double-digit lead through the majority of Sunday’s 114-104 defeat of the Utah Jazz in San Antonio, the San Antonio Spurs DG(40-14) are back on the road in Salt Lake City to face the same Jazz team tonight, but will this be the same Spurs team?

On Sunday, the Spurs started Boris Diaw at center instead of DeJuan Blair. Blair and Stephen Jackson both saw no action on Sunday in the Spurs’ win. The Spurs are on a back-to-back and own their second 11-game winning streak; the expectation is that head coach Gregg Popovich will be sitting a few more Spurs in Monday’s game.

With their loss to the Spurs, the Jazz fall to 4-6 in their last 10 games, but they’re returning home where they own a 20-8 record. Whoever suits up for the Spurs, it’ll be a challenge to play against the energetic crowd that supports Utah.

Case No. 55: Utah Jazz (29-28)

The King

  • Al Jefferson – 19.7 points, 9.4 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, 17.4 FGA (50%), 3.1 FTA (78%), vs. Spurs: 20.5 points, 11 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 steal, 53% shooting. Jefferson lead the Jazz with 19 points on Sunday, but credit the defense of Diaw and Tim Duncan for making him earn every point as Jefferson shot 9-of-23 to collect those 19 points.

The Knights

  • Paul Millsap – 16.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.8 steals, 13.3 FGA (51%), 3.7 FTA (81%), vs. Spurs: 12 points, 9 rebounds, 2.5 steals, 42% shooting. Millsap will be looking for a bounce back game as he only scored two points on Sunday and missed seven other shots. He won’t be happy to find out he’ll be facing a rested DeJuan Blair who is holding Millsap under his season average.
  • Gordon Hayward – 11.2 points, 8.7 FGA (45%), 3.4 FTA (82%), vs. Spurs: 6 points, 25% shooting. Hayward had to shoot 11 times to collect 12 points on Kawhi Leonard, he’ll have an even more difficult night having to score against a fresh Stephen Jackson.
  • Devin Harris – 10.5 points, 4.9 assists, 1 steals, 7.9 FGA (45%), 3 FTA (77%), vs. Spurs: 11.5 points, 3.5 assists, 50% shooting. Harris had a pretty good game with 18 points and six assists on Sunday, my guess is Tony Parker doesn’t play in this one so Harris won’t have to worry about Parker exploding for 28 points tonight. He’ll still have to have his legs ready for defense against Gary Neal (if he plays) and the speedy Aussie Patty Mills.

The Bishops

  • C.J. Miles – 9.1 points, 8.3 FGA (38%), vs. Spurs: 10 points, 41% shooting. Since Danny Green is young, he should be ready to have another night of starting and defending Miles who was held to seven points on seven shot attempts.
  • Josh Howard – Out
  • Derrick Favors – 8.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, 6.8 FGA (48%), vs. Spurs: 6 points, 3.5 rebounds, 33% shooting. This was one of the most efficient players for Utah on Sunday and he really made his mark in the game with 14 points and 12 rebounds while shooting 70% from the field. My guess is the Spurs will most likely be without Duncan, so the frontline will have to be ready for Favors and Jefferson’s attack in the paint.

The Pawns

  • Alec Burks – 7 points, 6 FGA (43%), vs. Spurs: 5.5 points, 63% shooting.
  • Raja Bell – Out
  • DeMarre Carroll – 16 points, 6-of-8 shooting, 3-of-4 three-point shooting on Sunday. Carroll was a big reason why the Jazz were able to cut the Spurs’ huge lead to eight points as he kept making shot after shot to keep the game competitive. A lot of his looks were open off of double teams of Jefferson, so the Spurs will really need to improve their rotations on defense tonight in order to limit Carroll’s production.

Offense vs. Offense

  • 1. Points: Spurs (102.3) – Jazz (99.2) = Spurs
  • 2. Assists: Spurs (22.8) – Jazz (21.8) = Spurs
  • 3. Shooting percentage: Spurs (47%) – Jazz (45.6%) = Spurs
  • 4. Three point shooting percentage: Spurs (39%) – Jazz (31%) = Spurs
  • 5. Free throw attempts: Spurs (21.2) – Jazz (25) = Jazz
  • 6. Turnovers: Spurs (12.9) – Jazz (13.6) = Spurs

Offensive Leader: Spurs 5-1

Defense vs. Defense

  • 1. Opponent scoring: Spurs (96.4) – Jazz (99.3) = Spurs
  • 2. Opponent shooting: Spurs (46%) – Jazz (46%) = Tie
  • 3. Rebounds: Spurs (42.7) – Jazz (43.8) = Jazz
  • 4. Personal Fouls: Spurs (17.1) – Jazz (22) = Spurs

Defensive Leader: Spurs 2-1

Game Expectation

The last time the Spurs had an 11-game winning streak; coach Popovich rested the “Big three” in the next game against the Portland Trailblazers. The Blazers blew the Spurs out of the building that night.

If Popovich decides to rest the “Big three” again, this new second unit should make the game a lot more competitive and possibly win. Even without the “Big three”, the Spurs still have a ton of options who can explode for a big night.

It’s hard to make a prediction for this game because of the uncertainty of which players will play, but as long as the Spurs can limit their turnovers, which they didn’t do on Sunday (16 turnovers), work on their defensive rotations when double-teaming Jefferson, and shoot a high percentage with open shots, they should have a chance to keep pace with Utah.

Paul Garcia

About Paul Garcia

Paul is a San Antonio Spurs credentialed media member for Project Spurs. He covered the 2013 NBA All-Star Game in Houston, TX and the 2013 NBA Finals.

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