The San Antonio Spurs (49-16) will look to extend their nine-game winning streak on Sunday as they host the Utah Jazz, who have lost three straight games, and are 2-8 in their last 10 games. The Jazz are currently tied with the Los Angeles Lakers for the worst record in the Western Conference at 22-44, as both have been eliminated from any chance at a playoff birth this season. Here’s a quick survey of the Jazz at the moment.
Jazz’s preferred offense vs. Spurs’ defense
Using The Synergy Sports database, I’ve listed the Jazz’s three preferred ways of scoring (Pick-and-roll, Spot Up, and Transition) on the percentage of scoring possessions they use each, how many points per possession they average, and in the parentheses, is where they rank overall in the NBA on those scoring possessions. After the hyphen is how much the Spurs’ defense limits their opponents in those scoring possessions and where they rank overall in the NBA.
1a. Jazz Pick-and-roll ball handler: 16.5% of scoring possessions, 0.72 points per possession (26th) – Spurs’ defense holds the opposing pick-and-roll ball handler to 0.78 points per possession (10th).
1b. Jazz Pick-and-roll man: 6.3% of scoring possessions, 1.01 points per possession (14th) – The Spurs’ defense holds the opposing pick-and-roll man to 0.98 points per possession (12th).
When “Jazz Pick-and-roll ball handler” is stated, it’s describing when the ball handler, usually a guard or small forward, uses the pick and roll to score on a play. When “Jazz Pick-and-roll man” is stated, it’s describing the man who set a screen, usually a power forward or center, rolled, received the ball and made a scoring attempt.
2. Jazz Spot Ups: 22.6% of scoring possessions, 0.96 points per possession (19th) – The Spurs’ defense holds opposing Spot Up attempts to 1.03 points per possession (25th).
If you’re a Spurs fan, don’t be too alarmed when you read the Spurs are ranked 25th in defending Spot Up shots. This is actually what San Antonio wants its opponent to do, shoot midrange jumpers. The Spurs’ defense has allowed teams to shoot 974 Spot Up attempts this season, and their foes are shooting 41.3% on those shots, a percentage the Spurs might be satisfied with.
3. Jazz Transition: 12.2% of scoring possessions, 1.12 points per possession (13th) – Spurs’ defense holds Transition attempts to 1.08 points per possession (4th).
Utah’s key players (in last 10 games)
Gordon Hayward – 15.6 points, 46.6% shooting, 41.0% shooting from three, 6.4 assists, 5.6 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 2.9 turnovers, 37.1 minutes per game
Alec Burks – 14.0 points, 44.1% shooting, 34.8% shooting from three, 3.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.1 steals, 2.2 turnovers, 29.8 minutes per game
Trey Burke – 12.3 points, 42.2% shooting, 34.6% shooting from three, 4.4 assists, 3.0 rebounds, 1.7 turnovers, 32.0 minutes per game
Enes Kanter – 12.2 points, 44.6% shooting, 8.6 rebounds, 1.2 turnovers, 27.4 minutes per game
Derrick Favors – 11.7 points, 55.1% shooting, 7.4 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, 1.8 turnovers, 27.9 minutes per game
Richard Jefferson – 10.8 points, 50.0% shooting, 47.4% shooting from three, 1.3 turnovers, 26.6 minutes per game
Marvin Williams – 6.2 points, 33.3% shooting, 20.7% shooting from three, 4.2 rebounds, 1.0 turnovers, 22.0 minutes per game
What does Vegas say?
The website Vegas.com projects the Spurs to be a 15-point favorite to win the match. On Friday, the Spurs were an 18-point favorite against the Lakers and ended up beating the Lakers by 34 points that night.
The game will tip-off at 6:00 PM CST at the AT&T Center.
Follow Paul on Twitter, where he'll be covering the game live from the AT&T Center with pregame, in-game, and post game coverage from the court to the locker room.
(All stats via NBA.com/stats and MySynergySports.com)