Tuesday night will feature a pair of Western Conference foes who both share the dubious distinction of being towards the bottom of the conference in terms of records. For the San Antonio Spurs, they have fallen to 11-12. Despite a very inconsistent season thus far, they are coming off of a big 131-118 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday. In that game, DeMar DeRozan led the way with 36 points and 6 assists while LaMarcus Aldridge added 8 rebounds.
For the Jazz, they come in at 11-13. After winning two in a row, they dropped their last contest 102-100 against the Miami Heat on Sunday. Ricky Rubio led the team in points (23) and assists (6) while Rudy Gobert led the team with 18 rebounds. The two will square off when the Spurs travel to Vivint Smart Home Arena to face the Jazz Tuesday with tipoff scheduled for 9:00 pm ET.
The Utah Jazz come into this game as 6-point favorites playing at home. The over/under for total points scored comes in at 214.5.
By The Numbers
On the offensive side, these two teams are pretty similar. When it comes to adjusted offensive rating (expected points based on 100 possessions when taking into account opponents defense), the Utah Jazz rank 19th in the league with an average of 107.19. For the Spurs, they rank 23rd in the NBA with an average of 110.54. In terms of adjusted defensive rating, the Jazz widen the gap a bit. They rank 8th in the NBA with an average of 108.27 while the San Antonio Spurs fall to 27th in the league at 113.44. In other words, at least thus far in the season, the Jazz have done a better job at both ends of the floor, even when you account for any variance in their opponents.
Spurs Looking For Some Consistency
After the shocking trade that sent DeMar DeRozan in a trade from the Toronto Raptors to the San Antonio Spurs in exchange for disgruntled forward Kawhi Leonard, it took some time for DeRozan to embrace the new opportunity. Despite playing on a weaker team in a tougher conference, he is certainly trying to do his part to help San Antonio win. On the season, he is averaging 24.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 6 assists per game. Along with DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge is having a nice season thus far. He is averaging 18.3 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. Still, coach Pop has his work cut out for him as San Antonio is not as deep as it once was when they made the run of winning seasons with Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli.
Aside from DeRozan and Aldridge, there isn’t a whole lot of immediate scoring threats. Rudy Gay has performed admirably with 13.4 points per game to go along with 6.9 rebounds, but it is sparse beyond that. Bryn Forbes is averaging 12.3 points per game, Patty Mills is averaging 10 points and Marco Belinelli is averaging 9.7, but the majority of the pressure is put on the shoulders of Aldridge and DeRozan.
Utah Looking To Turn Rough Start Around
While the Jazz might not have the star power of DeRozan and Aldridge, they do seem to have more significant depth than the Spurs. Donovan Mitchell is solid, averaging 21.4 points per game, but he has help. Ricky Rubio (12.7 points, 6.4 assists), Joe Ingles (12.5 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.5 assists), Derrick Favors (10.2 points, 7.1 rebounds), and Jae Crowder (12.7 points, 4.8 rebounds) have all been contributors throughout the season. Possibly the second most important person on the squad, though, is Rudy Gobert. Not only is he averaging 15.4 points per game on 69.1% shooting, he is also averaging a whopping 13 rebounds per game, including close to 4 per game on the offensive side.
One other interesting addition the Jazz just made was sharpshooter Kyle Korver. Acquired from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Korver is shooting 46.2% from downtown. While he may not be the consistent scorer that he once was when he was playing alongside Lebron, he is still a nice bench piece that can come onto the floor and extend defenses with his outside shooting.
Take The Spurs And The Points
While I like the depth and all-around game of the Jazz a bit better, I also like the ability for DeMar DeRozan to take over a game. While Donovan Mitchell is solid, DeRozan will be the best player on the floor Tuesday night. Between he and LeMarcus Aldridge, I think they will keep the Spurs in it, and if they can get any of their complimentary players to pitch in, I think it becomes a win for the Spurs. Regardless, getting 6 points, I like the Spurs in a game between two teams who have been very inconsistent all year. Take the Spurs +6.