Scouting the Jazz: If no Splitter, Spurs need big night from perimeter

Though the San Antonio Spurs (22-9) are the hottest team in the league as they currently hold a AJ10-game win streak, their record doesn’t speak to their present state of physical health.

In notching their 10th straight win on Saturday afternoon against the Los Angeles Clippers, the Spurs lost forward Tiago Splitter to a right calf strain, and guard Manu Ginobili to a strained left oblique muscle. Ginobili is back in San Antonio and is set to undergo an MRI today while Splitter will remain with the team; his game status is unknown though.

The Spurs bring their 9-8 road record into Utah to face the Jazz as the Spurs make this game number seven on their Rodeo Road Trip (6-0). The Jazz are playing on the second night of a back-to-back as they fell to the Houston Rockets in Houston on Sunday evening.

Case No. 32: Utah Jazz (15-15)

Home: 12-5. Last 10 games: 3-7. Jazz average: 95.9 points (45% FG). Opponents average: 97.3 points (45% FG).

Commendable areas for the Jazz

  • 3rd Blocks (5.9) – The Jazz are led by Al Jefferson who averages almost two blocks per game. The Jazz also have multiple big men to defend the paint, however rookie Enes Kanter is the Jazz’s second paint enforcer.
  • 5th Offensive Rebounds (12.2) – Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors, and Kanter, that’s a pretty good offensive rebounding group. Or, it might mean the Jazz’s shooters miss a few shots and the big men clean up the glass with those misses.
  • 10th Field Goal Percentage (45%)
  • 25th Turnovers (13.7)

Deficient areas for the Jazz

  • 3rd Personal Fouls (22.1)
  • 22nd Opponents scoring (97.3)
  • 30th Three point shooting percentage (29.6%) – To sum it all up, the Jazz’s defense gives a lot of their points away at the free throw line. They send their opponents to the line at a high rate. One of the reason’s they struggle to put points on the board offensively is because of their lack of three point shooting.

The King

Al Jefferson – 19 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, 17.1 FGA (48%)

Tim Duncan vs. Jefferson will be a great matchup to watch as Duncan will be coming off two days of rest and ready to take on more minutes should Splitter not play in the game.

The Knight

Paul Millsap – 15.6 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.4 steals, 12.6 FGA (50%)

DeJuan Blair and Matt Bonner will have the duty of guarding the smaller, but bulkier Millsap in the paint.

DFThe Bishops

Gordon Hayward – 9.8 points, 8.1 FGA (42%)

C.J. Miles – 9.3 points, 8.3 FGA (38%)

Devin Harris – 8.8 points, 1 steals, 6.9 FGA (44%)

Harris will have a fun time guarding Parker as Parker has scored a combined 64 points in the Spurs’ last two games, and Parker is averaging 25.8 points in the month of February.

The Pawns

Derrick Favors – 8.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 6.6 FGA (50%)

Should Splitter not play, Favors can have a huge impact for the Jazz, as only Bonner would be the last available big man for the Spurs to bring in off the bench. However, Favors should be aware that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich will most likely be using more “small ball” lineups without Splitter.

Josh Howard – 7.6 points, 7.4 FGA (36%)

Raja Bell – 7.2 points, 5.5 FGA (48%)

Game Expectation

This game mainly relies on the Spurs’ big man situation. It’s unknown if Splitter will play at all and should he not play; the Spurs’ second unit will lose a big part of their formation. The guards and wings like Gary Neal, Danny Green, and Kawhi Leonard will have to be the additional help to Parker and Duncan in order to help the Spurs earn their 11th straight win.

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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