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Utah Jazz vs. Denver Nuggets NBA Preview & Free Pick

Jazz vs Nuggets NBA Spread/Handicapping

The Denver Nuggets began their season with three straight losses, but they’ve begun to turn it around with back-to-back wins against the Detroit Pistons and Houston Rockets. The Utah Jazz started 2012 with a win over the Dallas Mavericks, but they quickly dropped three of their next four contests. Both teams are 2-3 on the year, and both teams face off on ESPN Friday night.

Utah Jazz (2-3) @ Denver Nuggets (2-3)
Friday, November 9, 2012 on ESPN
Pepsi Center
10:30 PM ET
Moneyline: OFF
Spread: Lakers OFF from Bovada

O/U: OFF

Matchup | Preview | Check Out Ray’s NBA Plays!

Utah Jazz

The Utah Jazz may have lost three of their last four games, but they are coming off a statement win against a struggling Los Angeles Lakers squad Wednesday night. They bullied players such as Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol all night long, which is not unusual for their style of play. The Jazz play with aggression—especially in the paint—which is going to be key against a Denver team that is averaging the third-most rebounds in the league.

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Offensively, this team has been carried by their new point guard, Mo Williams. Williams is averaging 19.8 points and 6.8 assists, and he’s knocked down 36.8 percent of his three-pointers thus far. Williams did whatever he wanted against a slower point guard in Steve Blake on Wednesday, but he’ll be up against a much tougher, much faster opponent in Ty Lawson come Friday.

This Jazz team has yet to establish themselves as great in any one particular area, but they haven’t fallen behind in any specific spots either. They’re 13th in rebounding, 12th in points scored and 12th in points allowed. Middle-of-the-road is a pretty decent way of describing the 2-3 team at this point, so in all likelihood, they’ll have to find one area in which they can excel if they’re going to take down the Nuggets on Friday.
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Denver Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets bring a two-game winning streak into this contest after three straight losses, and while it’s still early in the year, every game counts against a rival in the brutal Northwest division.

On offense, the team is led by point guard Ty Lawson, but the scoring is balanced enough to come from all over the roster. The team has six players averaging double-figures, and they have nine guys contributing at least 6.3 points per contest. That being said, they have been a horrible three-point shooting team this year. They’re completing less than 30 percent of their long-range attempts, so they must use players such as Kenneth Faried, Andre Iguodala and Javale McGee to attack Utah’s physical frontcourt.

Statistically, the Nuggets are fairly close to the Jazz in a lot of areas. Denver allows 97.8 points per game and they score 96.4. The big difference is rebounding, where they pull down nearly 50 rebounds per contest. Both teams like to run, so if Denver can turn those rebounds into transition buckets, they’ll find themselves avoiding the physical nature of Utah in the half-court.

The Jazz may be coming off a victory against a stacked Lakers squad, but it’s no secret that L.A. is off to a rough start, and it’s no secret that home-court advantage gave Utah momentum throughout the contest. Come Friday, they’ll be on the road again, and this time they’re facing a team that has a bit of a winning streak heading into the contest. Denver should have the advantage, especially if they can control the pace from start to finish.

Trends

Under is 8-3 in UTA last 11 overall.
Under is 8-3 in UTA last 11 vs. Western Conference.
UTA are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games overall.
DEN are 11-5 ATS in their last 16 games overall.
DEN are 13-6 ATS in their last 19 Fri. games.
Over is 8-2 in the last 10 meetings in Denver.
Over is 10-4-1 in the last 15 meetings.

Score Prediction: Denver Nuggets 105 – Utah Jazz 97

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