Opponent Scouting: Utah Jazz. (42-25)
Tonight at 7:30 p.m. EST the Pistons will be welcoming the Utah Jazz to the Palace. The Pistons are on the 2nd night of a back to back in their schedule, fortunately they should be well rested since they didn’t show up to yesterdays game against the Cavs and no game took place. The Jazz are on one day of rest after beating the Clippers on Monday.
The Jazz have finally stopped being the cute team that analytics say are good but still stink, now they are actually just really good. They sport an excellent defensive efficiency of 102.3, and a very solid offensive efficiency of 107.4.
Gordon Hayward is one of the most well rounded wings in the game with 22 points, 5.5 boards, 3.5 assists, 1.1 steals, and all that offense is very efficient on some tough looks. George Hill is finally starting to get some of the respect that he deserves as being really good. 17.4 points and 4.2 assists while shooting 41% from deep with excellent defense. Rodney Hood has continued to make good on a promising start to his career, scoring 13.4 points and shooting the ball well from all over the floor. Rudy Gobert is a monster defender who is generally regarded as the best rim protector in basketball, while also being a solid pick and roll man on the other end. Derrick Favors is likely out for the game tonight. Boris Diaw is fat, and has struggled quite a bit this year, but he can still pass and he knows how to use his fat to his advantage. Joe Johnson keeps on chugging, he can shoot 3s and score and play make out of isolations. Alec Burks is a maniac driving to the hoop. Trey Lyles has taken a step back and really struggled this year, Dante Exum is a good athlete and defender who shows flashes on offense but he has a lot of work to do. Joe Ingles is a awesome outside shooter at 44.2% from deep, and is otherwise just a super smart player who is really good.
This is a very good and very deep team who has a lot of versatility in how they can play. They play really good defense and have enough weapons to score points themselves.
Matchups to watch:
- Jazz vs Missing occasionally: The Cavs shot absurdly well last night, like there is nothing else to say. Hopefully the Jazz miss a couple of shots.
- Andre vs Gobert: Andre is really good, Gobert is really good, and they both are the type of player that generally owns the paint. Throw in the fact that they are both fairly unique for each other in that neither of them play many games against someone who can really compete in terms of size and athleticism.
- Marcus vs Hayward: Gordon Hayward is really good, and Marcus will likely get him for most of the night. Marcus does have enough of a size advantage though that he should be able to get a few points back on the other end.
- Tobias vs Various not 4s: With Favors out, the Jazz play a rotating cast at the 4 spot, with a lot of the minutes going to Boris Diaw and Joe Johnson. If the Jazz actually let Diaw guard Tobias for any significant time it could be a fun night.
So in conclusion…
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
- Diaw guards Tobias. Ever.
- Marcus is having one of his random “I’m about to outplay an all star” nights.
- Andre is able to battle with Gobert and allow the Pistons to still have some success in the paint.
Run for the hills if:
- The Jazz bench might actually be better than the Pistons’.
- Gobert is dominating the paint.
- George Hill is destroying Reggie on both ends of the floor.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
- Andre and Gobert play each other pretty much even.
- KCP finally has a big game again.
- Tobias Harris scores many points.
- Pistons grind out a win with Tobias and KCP leading the way.
- Pistons 94 – Jazz 90.
What do you think? Can the Pistons get around Gobert? Will Tobias roast Diaw?