The Morning Shootaround – Utah Jazz: Week 20

This week’s games:

  • Tuesday, March 10 – New York Knicks. Energy Solutions Arena. 7:00 PM MT
  • Thursday, March 12 – Houston Rockets. Energy Solutions Arena. 7:00 PM MT
  • Saturday, March 14 – Detroit Pistons. Energy Solutions Arena. 7:00 PM MT.

Game of the Week: Utah Jazz vs Houston Rockets

Like Memphis was last week, the Rockets will be the best team that the Jazz will face this week.  The nice thing about that is that Jazz have found great success against playoff teams over the past few weeks.  Remember those home wins against Portland and San Antonio after the All-Star break?  Well, the Jazz have a chance to earn another great win in front of the home crowd.  When you consider that the other games this week are against the Knicks and the Pistons, how could we not consider the game against a Western Conference playoff team the game of the week?

Player Focus: Rodney Hood

It’s good to have Rodney Hood back. I mean, it’s really good. While the numbers may not be overwhelming, Hood’s return to the line-up gives the Jazz a boost they’ve really needed.  To me, Hood being in the line-up gives the Jazz the best person to fill-in at the small forward spot when Hayward goes to the bench.  He’s more than just a body on the floor – Hood has shown that he is capable of getting his own shot and knocking it down, boosting a bench unit that, aside from Trey Burke, has had trouble finding offense at times.  Don’t be surprised if Hood is scoring double-digits regularly – he’s averaging 10 points per game so far in the month of March.

Game Predictions:

Knicks: The Knicks were bad when they had Carmelo Anthony playing.  Now that he’s not, it’s safe to say that they’re one of the teams in the basement of the NBA.  The Knicks have lost eleven of their last thirteen games. Andrea Bargnani has been their primary scorer recently, posting 19 or more points in four of their last fives games.  The Knicks stop in Denver for a Monday night match-up against the Nuggets, so the Jazz will be lucky enough to see them on the second night of a back-to-back.  This is a game that I fear the Jazz will make the mistake of playing to the level of their opponent, but after what happened at home against the Lakers, I have to believe that they learned their lesson – at least for now. – Jazz win, 97-82.

Rockets: Houston has won seven of their last ten games, and they’re doing so without Dwight Howard.  James Harden has been playing outstanding ball and put himself into the discussion for MVP this season.  He’ll be the biggest challenge for the Jazz to contain, as long as he doesn’t kick someone from the Blazers in the crotch on Wednesday night.  The Rockets play the late game on ESPN in Portland the night before their trip to Salt Lake City. which should really help the Jazz out against one of the best offensive teams in the league.  With the Blazers before and the Clippers after their meeting with Utah, I fully expect the Rockets to overlook the Jazz.  Big mistake, Houston. – Jazz win, 91-89.

Pistons: The Pistons seemed to be getting it together after dealing away Josh Smith earlier this season, but they’ve really struggled of late.  As a matter of fact, they’ve dropped six games in a row.  The Jazz will have the benefit of catching Detroit on the last game of a four-game West coast road trip.  The thing to watch will be the front-court court battle.  Detroit brings a talented pair of young bigs in Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe.  While I think Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert will be challenged in this game, I have no doubts that they will pass the test. – Jazz win, 91-86.

Jazz History: 

Usually I only post one piece of Jazz history each week, but there’s a lot of awesome milestones this week, so let’s go crazy…

March 9, 1997
Karl Malone became the fifth player in NBA history to record 25,000 points and 10,000 rebounds.  The Mailman dropped 36 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in a 115-106 victory at Minnesota.

March 10, 2002
John Stockton dished out 13 assists in a 95-92 loss to the Houston Rockets, taking his career total of 15,000.  He’s still the only player in NBA history to reach that plateau.

March 13, 1998
John Stockton scored the 15,000th point of his career in a 110-101 win over Vancouver.  Stockton had 16 points in the game.

March 16, 1988
Mark Eaton blocked six shots, including the 2,000th of his career, in the Jazz’s 120-105 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

 

About the author

Devin Masters

Devin has been a lifelong Utah Jazz fan, enduring the heartbreak of Michael Jordan’s push-off and the tragic end of the Sloan era. A lover of college athletics, he supports Notre Dame and the University of Utah. A fan of the world’s game, he can be found cheering for Real Salt Lake, and the American and Spanish national teams. Also a fan of the Denver Broncos, and a casual follower of the Colorado Rockies and Seattle Mariners. He is a Dub State graduate and widely considered the pride of Ogden.