It’s an inter-conference tilt down in Buzz City. The Utah Jazz play their third straight game against a Southeast Division foe as they face the Charlotte Hornets Friday night. Utah snapped a three-game losing skid by edging the Wizards 107-104 on the road Wednesday night. Charlotte had their two-game win streak snapped with a 115-111 home loss to Dallas Wednesday night. The Jazz owns a commanding 37-18 edge in the all-time regular season series between the teams but the teams have split the last six matchups with the home team prevailing in each contest.
Line: Charlotte -4
Utah Jazz Seek Back to Back Road Wins
Utah had lost three straight games but managed to come up with the victory on the road in Washington Wednesday night. The Jazz improved to a dismal 4-17 on the road with the win and try to win back to back games on the road here. Utah trailed by seven after one and by four at the half before outscoring Washington 37-27 in the third quarter to take control. The Jazz shot 46.7 percent from the field, including 11 of 33 from three point range, and forced the Wizards into 23 turnovers to offset allowing Washington to shoot 52.6 percent overall. Ricky Rubio led Utah with 21 points in the contest.
The Jazz enter this contest 27th in the league in scoring offense with 101 points per game. Utah is in the lower half of the pack, ranking 25th in the league in rebounding with 40.7 boards per game. The Jazz is 23rd in the league in assists with 21.2 per contest. Utah currently is 5th in the league in scoring defense as they allow 101.8 points per game. Ricky Rubio is contributing in his first season with the Jazz with 11.6 points plus 4.8 assists and 1.6 steals per game on the year. Joe Ingles (9.8 points) and Rudy Gobert (11.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.28 blocks) are solid options. Gobert missed 11 games with a tibia contusion and is out again with a PCL sprain. Derrick Favors (12.5 points, 6.8 rebounds) and Rodney Hood (16.5 points) are other key pieces for the Jazz. Joe Johnson, Alec Burks, Jonas Jerebko, Thabo Sefolosha, Donovan Mitchell (team high 18.4 points) and Ekpe Udoh are contributors for coach Quin Snyder. Utah is tied for 23rd in the league as they shoot 44.9 percent from the floor. The Jazz are 11th in the league in threes per game as they knock down 11 triples a night. Utah is 12th in the league in three point shooting as they knock down 36.7 percent from beyond the arc.
Charlotte Hornets Look to Regroup
Charlotte had five days off but was unable to come up with a win over a Dallas team that was playing the second game of a back to back. The Hornets try to get back in the win column here as they are at home again against a sub-.500 opponent. Charlotte led by eight after the opening quarter but was outscored 39-24 in the second quarter to go down seven at the half. The Hornets rallied to tie the game with under five minutes to go but couldn’t keep the Mavericks in check. Charlotte shot 51.2 percent from the field and went 10 of 26 from three point range in the contest. The Hornets sunk themselves by going 15 of 30 at the free throw line in the contest. Kemba Walker had 41 points in the loss to lead Charlotte.
The Hornets are an average team offensively, ranking 16th in the league with 105.2 points per game. Charlotte is 3rd in rebounding with 46.4 boards per game and 26th by dishing out 20.7 assists per contest. The Hornets come in ranked 16th in scoring defense by allowing 106.2 points per game. Kemba Walker leads the team with 21.8 points while dishing out 5.8 assists per game. Dwight Howard is averaging 15.6 points plus 12.1 rebounds per contest, Jeremy Lamb adds 14.4 points plus 4.6 boards per game and Frank Kaminsky chips in 10.9 points a night. Cody Zeller, Treveon Graham, Marvin Williams, Dwayne Bacon, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Malik Monk have to be valuable bench contributors. Nicolas Batum, who tore an elbow ligament in early October and missed 14 games, is averaging 10.1 points plus 4.8 assists per contest. The Hornets are 28th in field goal percentage as the team shoots 44.1 percent from the floor. Charlotte is tied for 24th with nine threes per game while ranking 22nd in three point shooting as they hit 35.4 percent from beyond the arc.
- Jazz are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 vs. Eastern Conference
- Jazz are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 vs. NBA Southeast
- Hornets are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 home games
Charlotte had a prime opportunity to roll over Dallas but they sunk themselves by clanking free throws all over the place. You simply can’t shoot 50 percent at the line on that many attempts and expect to win a close game. Utah took advantage of a turnover prone Washington squad to pick up the win over the Wizards on the road Wednesday night. With both teams having Thursday off, the rest advantage Charlotte had over the Mavericks evaporated. Look for Utah, as improbable as it sounds, to win back to back road games by prevailing here.
Pick: Utah Jazz
Utah is still battling injuries in their frontcourt rotation as Gobert is likely still at least a week away from returning at this point. Favors is battling an ankle sprain: he missed the Washington game and is a question mark for this one. Charlotte is healthy except for Zeller, who is out after having knee surgery, but the Hornets continue to play inconsistent basketball on both ends of the floor. There’s a major free throw shooting disparity in this game: Utah is tied for second in the league as they hit 80.8 percent at the line while Charlotte is a distant 27th at 72.4 percent. That shows that their struggles against Dallas weren’t an isolated incident.
The under is 5-0 in the Jazz’s last 5 games following a straight up win, 4-1 in their last 5 vs. a team with a losing straight up record and 7-3 in their last 10 games overall. Charlotte has seen the under go 6-1 in their last 7 vs. a team with a losing straight up record, 4-1 in their last 5 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game and 4-1 in their last 5 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game. With Utah banged up and struggling offensively, this one likely falls under the total once it’s actually set.