Utah Jazz Post-Season Preview
The Utah Jazz have been on a strong run the last few weeks. Their current 11-game streak started before Boozer's return, but his health is still up in the air. Their strengths and weaknesses as a team, however, are already known by most in the NBA. Let's look at a quick overview of what we know.
Strong home court advantage—one of the strongest in the game.
Rebounding - almost every night they dominate the boards.
Jump-shooting - with Korver getting hot, their jump-shooting is some of the best in the league.
Inconsistent road team: they seem to go on huge slumps shooting on the road.
Foul-trouble: their aggressive nature is susceptible to foul-trouble
Defense: once again, inconsistency plagues the Jazz defense
Injuries: Boozer still isn't totally healthy, and Deron Williams' ankle is still not 100 percent.
With this streak, it looks as if the Jazz are headed to the playoffs and are poised to make another run at a title. Let's take these known attributes and compare them to the current playoff teams in the west. How will they stack up in a first-round matchup?
No. 8 seed - Dallas: The Jazz would out-rebound the Mavericks almost nightly, letting second-chance points become a huge part of their offense. Williams could go through, around, and over Jason Kidd's failing defense at will. Nowitzki could give an injured Boozer or Millsap some problems on defense, but overall I don't see the Mavericks putting up enough points to hold off the Jazz for more than a game or two. Jazz win 4-1
No. 7 - Nuggets: Denver's weak defense down low would allow an injured Boozer to put up big offensive and rebounding numbers. Carmelo could be a serious weapon against a slow Jazz defense. Defense would be at a premium in this series. Home court advantage would be huge for both teams, and right now the Jazz have the higher seed. Jazz win 4-2
No. 6 - Portland: These two teams matchup very evenly. As the division leaders, these two teams will be seeing each other plenty this season. Their offensive, defensive, rebounding, and turnover stats are all very even. The home-court advantage will take a huge role in this matchup, as will playoff experience. In both these cases, the Jazz have the slight advantage. Jazz win 4-3
No. 5 - New Orleans: For whatever reason, the Jazz seem to have New Orleans' number. The obvious matchup is Chris Paul vs. Deron Williams, and Williams has had the upper hand in most matchups the last few years. Jazz Win 4-2
No. 3 - Houston: Jazz fans are hoping for this matchup. After defeating Houston in the first round of the last two playoffs, the Jazz are familiar with Houston's style of defense. They score many points, while disrupting the big scorers on the Rockets' roster. Ron Artest is a relative wildcard in this matchup, but Kirilenko can matchup well versus him defensively. Jazz win 4-2
No.2 - San Antonio: The consistency of the Spurs in the playoffs can not be understated. Home or away, they play solid defense and rebound well. This consistency can side-track the Jazz jump shooting and neutralize the Jazz advantage on the boards. Parker's speed and Duncan's post moves will take control of the series at some point. Spurs win 4-2
#1 - Lakers: Los Angeles completely dominated the Jazz last year in the playoffs because of their aggressiveness on the boards. Odom matched up very well versus anyone Utah put on him, and their timely three-point shooting exposed a weak Jazz defense. Kobe Bryant is kept under wraps for the most part, but the Lakers' speed is a serious issue for the Jazz. Lakers win 4-2
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