Me: The Jazz are 8-2 since the All-Star break.
You: "Yeah, but who did they play?"
Well to be fair, there are some bad teams in there: Philly, New York, and Denver aren't the greatest of competition.
"See! No big wins in there at all. They're still the terrible Jazz that we know and love."
NOT SO FAST!
The Jazz also have wins over San Antonio, Portland, and Memphis. In their last 10 games, and since the Enes Kanter trade, they have been a deadly team and one that knows it can play spoiler. So many teams get to this part of the year and start tanking, whether it be by stealth or by just being a terrible team. The Jazz are not only too good to tank, but they are starting to develop some momentum moving forward. I know people here will write them off, but this is a team that's probably two seasons away from contending for a playoff spot. A couple of months ago, that concept seemed ridiculous.
Rudy Gobert has taken over the paint. In his last 5 games, he's averaging 16 rebounds. The "Stifle Tower" nickname looks like it will stick.
The original Babyfaced Assassin still resides in Utah. Gordon Hayward is questionable after missing the Jazz's most recent game against the Knicks but if he suits up expect him to try to make up for his previous poor outings against Houston.
Derrick Favors has had his moments against the Rockets. With Kanter gone, he's averaging 3 more minutes and scoring 5 more points per game. He's also getting to the free throw line more often.
Rodney Hood hit 3s at Duke and he can hit them in the NBA. Dante Exum was Utah's number one overall pick (h/t Bill Worrell), and I'll never forget the game in Utah last year when Trey Burke didn't miss.
Salt Lake City is like Minnesota for Houston. Every year they go there twice and in one of the two games they put up a dud. In the first matchup between these teams, Houston got off to a slow start but eventually pulled away. So by the process of elimination, tonight is the dud. But even if Houston plays well, this is not a game to take lightly. Utah is good, and the Spurs are 2 games behind the Rockets in the loss column.
Also, I will seriously consider naming my first-born child after whomever can make a Corey Brewer mixtape that's just him on fast breaks with Cake's "The Distance" playing in the background. I don't have a first-born on the way anytime soon, but I have a good memory. Unless InstaBoner does it. I mean, what if it's a girl? Sorry bro.
Oh, and for Dave.
Tip-off is at 8pm CST.
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