Thursday, July 18, 2024
Sports Gaming Monitor

NBA Preview: Utah Jazz (35-40) at San Antonio Spurs (19-56)

The Utah Jazz still have a chance to play in the Western Conference play-in tournament, but Wednesday’s road game against the San Antonio Spurs, who are having trouble, has become a game that they almost have to win.

With seven games remaining in the regular season, the Jazz (35-40) are 12th in the West, 1 1/2 games behind the Dallas Mavericks and two games behind the ninth-place Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder. Utah cannot afford to lose to San Antonio (19-56), which has long been ruled out of the postseason, and has lost four straight to exit the play-in bracket.

Utah’s final six games are against teams that have already qualified for the playoffs or are in a position to do so after playing the Spurs. The Jazz will play three games on the road starting with the game on Wednesday, followed by games in Boston and Brooklyn.

Utah’s latest game was a 117-103 difficulty at home to Phoenix on Monday. After coming back from a deficit of double digits to take the lead late in the third quarter, the Jazz were outscored 33-22 in the fourth, but they never recovered.

On Monday, Utah was led by Lauri Markkanen, who scored 25 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Walker Kessler added 18 points, eight rebounds, and seven blocks, Talen Horton-Tucker scored 16 points, and Kelly Olynyk scored 10.

Additionally, San Antonio has lost four straight, all on the road. Sunday’s 137-93 defeat to Boston, San Antonio’s sixth defeat in its last seven games, was the latest setback in their forgettable season.

In the loss on Sunday, San Antonio was led by Zach Collins, who had 21 points and seven rebounds. Malaki Branham had 15, Sandro Mamukelashvili had 13, and Tre Jones had 11. For the fourth time in five games, the Spurs were without starters Jeremy Sochan (sore right knee) and Keldon Johnson (injured right foot).

Johnson has the best chance of playing against Utah on Wednesday.

San Antonio got within six points early in the third period, but that didn’t seem to wake up the Celtics, who went on a 24-11 run to end the period and never looked back. Late in the game, Boston increased its lead to as much as 47.

In two of the three games between San Antonio and Utah this season, San Antonio has prevailed.

Mikey Balhan Sports

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