December 21, 2016 at 6:43 AM #100271
The 18-10 Utah Jazz will host the 10-17 Sacramento Kings on Wednesday, December 21st. The Kings last game was a 79-99 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. The Jazz will be coming off of an 82-73 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Sacramento Kings have been bad on both sides of the ball this season. Offensively, they rank 23rd out of 30 teams in the NBA. Putting up points is not a team specialty. However, power forward DeMarcus Cousins does rank 4th in the NBA in points per game, averaging 28.3. The rest of the team just doesn’t score with him. He actually leads the team in points, rebounds, and blocks per game. Defensively, they rank 21st. They don’t excel at scoring or stopping the other team from finding the hoop and that is why they don’t win games very often. A team who excels in either phase of the game can overtake them.
In their last game against the Dallas Mavericks, Sacramento put on a poor performance. The only real bright spot in that game was the 33 points dropped by DeMarcus Cousins. This is a game the Kings could have won, but they were sorely missing the presence of second leading scorer and rebounder Rudy Gay. The hole left by his absence allowed the Mavericks to completely dominate them.
The Utah Jazz don’t possess a great offense, but they do have perhaps the best defense in the NBA. They allow just 94.6 points per game, the least in the league. Center Rudy Gobert has the most blocks in the league with 76, doing a big part in keeping the other team away from the basket. Offensively, Utah averages just 100.2 points per game, which puts them at the 24th ranked scoring team. They could be a contender in the postseason and a dangerous team if they could just figure out how to put points on the board. If they could combine that top defense with even a moderately good offense they could win a lot of games.
Utah’s last game was an 82-73 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. The team tied a season high with 11 blocks and put on a solid all around performance for the win. Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert combined for 43 points. Gobert also posted 12 rebounds and 3 blocks, a very good defensive performance to go with his solid scoring day. This win was Utah’s 4th straight and their seventh in the last eight.
The Kings can’t score. Neither can The Jazz. The Kings at least possess a dangerous, top 5 ranked offensive player in DeMarcus Cousins but he won’t be nearly enough. Utah has the league’s best defense currently and an incapable offense like that of the Kings will have a difficult time scoring against them. This should be a Utah Jazz win by more than a little.
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