WHO: Brooklyn Nets (36-34) at Utah Jazz (39-29)
WHAT: As the Nets continue on their 7-game road trip - this being game 2 - they really need to find opportunities to pick up games. The teams behind them keep winning and they’re in danger of, at some point in the near future, finding themselves on the outside looking in.
WHERE: Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
WHEN: 9:00 p.m. EST
HOW: YES, ATTSN-RM; NBA League Pass
THE STORY: Game Preview
Utah runs out a starting five of Ricky Rubio, Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles, Derrick Favors, and Rudy Gobert. Not bad! There are no obvious weak spots, and it’s kind of hilarious that Favors is still there after all those years. He was a New Jersey Net, that’s how long ago that trade went down. He isn’t the most obvious fit next to Gobert, but Quin Snyder makes it work. Snyder is one of the better coaches in the league. His trajectory for this Jazz teams kind of mimics Kenny Atkinson’s, with the first few years being mostly building towards something and then reaching a level of (hopefully, in the Nets case) sustainable success. Snyder was given more to work with than Atkinson, but he’s done a good job and Utah has been in the playoffs in the West the last three seasons. Impressive.
The Nets feasted on the Thunder in the first half of their most recent match up largely due to their strong defensive effort. The Thunder turned it up to the next level in the second half and ran away with it, but that’s what teams who have two All Stars who both know exactly how to take over a game can do. The Nets are going to have to bring it again on defense in order to get some easy buckets against the Jazz, and over their last five games, the Nets have a 95.5 (!!) defensive rating, easily the best in the league. Over that same span, they unsurprisingly lead the league in net rating as well with an 11.9 mark. Since the All Star Break, the Jazz’ 5.9 net rating ran 5th in the league.
For more on the Jazz, check out: SLC Dunk