Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs (52-16) vs Utah Jazz (34-34)
Dec 12, 2012; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz center Al Jefferson (25) is defended by San Antonio Spurs power forward Tim Duncan (21) during the second half at EnergySolutions Arena. The Jazz won 99-96. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
The Utah Jazz come into San Antonio to take on a team that has absolutely been hot at home. The San Antonio Spurs are sporting a 29-4 record at home and for the Utah Jazz a road record that makes Jazz fans cringe, 10-25. These two teams met two times this year and have split the series, both teams winning at home. With that being the case, one should think that the Spurs would get their 30th victory at home tonight.
If the Jazz are looking for luck against the Spurs tonight, they are going to have to ask for more as just today, Tony Parker has be activated and is available to play. One expects Parker to be back into the starting lineup for the Spurs.
With that said, here is the run down on the match-ups and who has the edge.
Point GuardsTony Parker vs Randy Foye
This will be Parker’s first game back from injury. It will be good to see him back on the court and control the game and limit our turnovers, an area in which we have been stinking it up at as of late. Look for Parker to find his groove early on and then take the game over. The last time these two teams met, way back on December 12th, Parker finished with 22 points and 7 assists in a loss. Foye picked up 13.
EDGE: Tony Parker
Shooting GuardsDanny Green vs Mo Williams
Danny, Danny, where for out thy Danny. I am waiting for Green to do something more on the offensive end. He has not been aggressive as of late and I am not sure why. He is the bigger of the two in this match-up and I would like to see him take Williams down in the block. Williams is a streaky shooter. We cannot let him hit his first couple of shots. Green will have to make it hard for him to get a shot up. These two were not impressive at all during the December 12th game. Green finished with 12 points and Williams, 8.
Small ForwardsKawhi Leonard vs Gordon Hayward
Dec 12, 2012; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz power forward Derrick Favors (15) is defended by San Antonio Spurs power forward Tiago Splitter (22) during the second half at EnergySolutions Arena. The Jazz won 99-96. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
We can sit here and rave more and more about the player that Leonard has become. He is the best defender on the Spurs and has done a really good job on the boards as well. He is a slasher and as we can see in games looks to take more jumpers than normal. Hayward had 19 when these two teams last played. Leonard was inactive.
EDGE: Kawhi Leonard
Power ForwardTiago Splitter vs Paul Millsap
These past few games I have come to like and respect the way that Splitter has been playing against other bigs in the league. He will have to continue his defensive prowess against a much bigger player in Millsap. Millsap likes to bang down low and as of late, it seems as if others around the league are trying to body up on Splitter to see what they can get out of him. He has responded really well with his defense and I see him doing more of that tonight. Millsap torched us in Utah back in December hitting for 24 points. He gets most of his down low so Splitter will need to bring his ‘A’ game on defense. Keep him off the block.
EDGE: Paul Millsap
CenterTim Duncan vs Al Jefferson
TD, The Big Fundamental, Future Hall of Famer, has been playing lights out lately for San Antonio and the team has really stepped up from his play. Duncan refuses to lose without their floor general Tony Parker and he has proven that with his scoring, passing and lately defense. Duncan has over the past few games blocked more than 4 shots. He has also recorded 5+ assists as well. This is the Duncan of old, Jefferson will need to be on his toes. Jefferson is the bigger of the two (weight wise) so I can see him trying to take Duncan down low, but don’t let that full you cause Duncan’s reach will make it hard for Jefferson to get anything off. These two battled back in Utah with Duncan scoring 22 and Jefferson 21.
EDGE: Tim Duncan
BenchThe bench had their best output in a long, long time against the Golden State Warriors back on Wednesday night. They combined to score 44 points with Manu Ginobili leading them with 16. Ginobili has not shot the ball well as of late and to many seems to be a little out of sink scoring. He has still done a great job distributing the ball to his teammates. The Jazz will look for Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and Alec Burks to provide the spark for them.
EDGE: San Antonio Spurs
When: Friday March 22, 2013Time: 7:30 PM (Spurs Time)Television: FSSWRadio: 1200 WOAI (LOCAL)
The Jazz perspective can be found here at Purple and Blues.