San Antonio Spurs vs. Utah Jazz
NBA / Western Conference
EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
Monday, February 20th, 2012. 9:00 PM EST
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Analysis of the San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs (22-9) are the hottest team in the NBA currently, coming off of an OT victory against the Clippers to extend their win streak to 10. During that streak they’ve taken down the likes of the Thunder, the 76ers, and the aforementioned Clips. A veteran team, coach Gregg Popovich again has the Spurs in position to quietly dominate the hardest conference in the NBA.
Analysis of the Utah Jazz
The Jazz are 15-14 and have a couple great pieces in C Al Jefferson and underrated PF Paul Millsap but are one great player away from being an elite squad. Per the usual, the Jazz have been defined by their record at home this year (only dropping 4 in SLC all season) and certainly hope that this advantage will help them stop the Spurs from making their win streak 11.
San Antonio Spurs: PG Tony Parker
Parker put up 30 points and 10 assists against the Clippers in that win and showed why he is still one of the best guards in the league. With an efficiency rating of 22.23, a top-25 rating, Parker will get another difficult matchup against fellow PG Devin Harris. If Parker can get anywhere near another 30-10 performance the Spurs will come out of Utah with an 11th victory in a row.
Utah Jazz: PF Paul Millsap
Jefferson is seen as the younger player with more upside, but Millsap is the heart and soul of this Jazz team. Largely seen as an All-Star snub this year, Millsap is averaging 16 points and 10 rebounds every time out. With C Tim Duncan covering Jefferson for most of the game, Millsap should get a favorable matchup against whomever he’s up against.
These teams don’t turn the ball over very much, San Antonio giving it up about 13 times a game and Utah about 14. Both teams are in the top 10 in this regard and the team that can keep it up while forcing the other to commit 3-5 more turnovers on Monday will come out on top.
The Spurs are clearly going to be the favorites to win against a Jazz squad that has only managed to win 3 of their last 9 games. That said, the game being played in Utah will certainly give the Jazz a boost and the fact that the Jazz can stop a winning streak like the one the Spurs have may be enough for them to steal one. I think they will (in a nail-biter of a game).
Prediction = Utah Jazz: 95 – San Antonio Spurs: 93