FanPost

Game 51: Utah Jazz at New Jersey Nets

Life would be so much better for the Nets if they could just play the Bobcats all the time. Unfortunately for them, there are other teams in the NBA. The other team for their next game is the upstart Utah Jazz. The Jazz are coming off a win on national TV when they beat the hell out of the Denver Nuggets. Currently, the Jazz find themselves in the playoff hunt, as they are in the 7th seed.

How do these teams compare? Let's take a look:

Offensive Efficiency

Defensive Efficiency

Free Throw rate

Turnover Rate

Offensive Rebounding %

Effective FG%

Opponent eFG%

Utah

102.5

103.6

29.3

12.95

29.08

47.61

49.72

New Jersey

100.2

107.7

27.4

14.83

28.36

47.85

51.75

League Average

101.3

101.3

28.1

13.93

26.89

48.5

48.5

I would've thought Utah would be better on the defensive side of the ball. As it turns out, they're in the bottom top in terms of defensive efficiency and opponent's eFG%. They tend to commit a lot of fouls, as evidenced by their second highest opponent's free throw rate. Their offensive attack is spearheaded by the excellent duo of Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson. The Jazz are the best shooting team near the rim in the NBA so expect them to pound the ball inside a ton against the weak interior defense of New Jersey. However, the Jazz are the second worst defensive team at the rim, but the Nets are hideous near the rim (tied for worst in the league), so the Jazz catch a bit of a break.

Another day, another bad 4th quarter for New Jersey. This time, they were able to withstand it as they had were up a bunch vs. Charlotte. If they wanna get the win, they need to control the defensive glass, as the Jazz are on the best rebounding teams in the NBA, while the Nets are one of the worst. Luckily for Jersey, the Jazz are the worst three point shooting team in the NBA so their league worst 3 point defense may not come back to haunt them in this game.

Last time I saw you

And before we move on, let's take a trip back to 1988. It's tough to be underrated when you're one of the 50 Greatest Players, but it feels like we sometimes forget about Stock when discussing the great players in basketball history.

Tip-off is at 7:30. Matchups and other stuff after the jump.

Point Guard: Devin Harris vs. Deron Williams

Much to my surprise, Harris is having a good season. The ex-Net is having a career year shooting the ball (eFG% of .524), and that's in large part due to his finishing at the rim (63%). I'm still not a big fan, but he's a decent-good player and that has value.

Yeah he shot 7-18 vs. Charlotte, but I can sorta live with that if Williams can keep everyone involved in the offense as he did with his 14 assists. I'm sure Williams will be extra motivated to play well vs. his former team.

Advantage: Nets

Shooting Guard: Gordon Hayward vs. Marshon Brooks

Hayward's been having a good sophomore season so far. He's taking on an increased role, and it's been paying off (higher PER & WS/48 this year). Surprisingly, his 3 point shooting has been way down this year. He's a capable shooter from deep, so that should turn around soon. If the Jazz plan on getting to the playoff and going on a run, they're gonna need him. Viva Pawnee Gordon.

I like to take a glass half full approach when it comes to Brooks. He was 3-4 at the rim and took 6 free throws vs. Charlotte. The fewer deep jumpers he takes, the better in my opinion.

Advantage: Jazz

Small Forward: CJ Miles vs. Gerald Wallace

Josh Howard was the starter, but he will miss the rest of the season. In steps CJ and he's been decent. One thing that's troubling w/r/t to Miles is his sharp decline in shooting. His TS% has gone from an excellent .574 in 07-08 to a subpar .481 this year.

Wallace had a bad shooting night vs. Charlotte, but he more than made up for it with his 7 boards and 3 steals. Of course, shooting efficiency is a major part of the game, but if you can contribute in other areas, the inefficiency doesn't hurt as much.

Advantage: Nets

Power Forward: Paul Millsap vs. Kris Humphries

Millsap is awesome. If he were in the East, he would've been a lock for the All Star Game. He's having arguably the best season of his career, as he's been a machine on the glass (rebound rate of 16), been adequate on defense (opponent eFG% of 49%), good with his jumpers (42% from 16-23 feet), and an absolute terror inside (70% at the rim). The Nets are gonna have a tough time containing him.

The last time Humphries saw a power forward on the level of Millsap was on Friday vs. Josh Smith. In that game, Smith torched him for 30 points, 12 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 4 assists. He's gonna need to be on his game if he hopes to contain Millsap.

Advantage: Jazz

Center: Al Jefferson vs. Shelden Williams

I remember a few years ago, there was a debate amongst basketball fans about whether the Minnesota Timberwolves should've traded Kevin Love instead of Jefferson. And while Jefferson hasn't been as good as Love, he's still been solid. And while you'd like to see better shooting from Al (52 TS% is good, but not great for a Center), his rebounding, passing and lack of turnovers help to make him an above average player in the NBA.

Williams is coming off a great game vs. Charlotte, as he had a double-double. He'll have his hands full containing the plethora of Jazz big men, so he's gotta be a force on the glass.

Advantage: Jazz

Bench:

Utah: Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Jamaal Tinsley, Alec Burks, DeMarre Carroll, Earl Watson, Jeremy Evans

New Jersey: Anthony Morrow, Gerald Green, Jordan Williams, Jordan Farmar, Sundiata Gaines, Jerry Smith, Johan Petro

Advantage: Utah

Miscellaneous:

Only 2.5 games separate the 4 seed from the 10 seed in the Western Conference. That conference is jam packed.

I miss Favors on this team. Glad to see he's doing OK in Utah.

It would be absolutely hilarious if the Nets fired Avery, replaced him with Jerry Sloan, and Williams stayed a Net. It won't happen, but it would be funny.

Where the hell has Jamaal Tinsley been?

Journey through the dark side: SLC Dunk

The mothership: Jazz vs Nets coverage

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