If there is one guy not on the Blazers that I have a man-crush on, it's Deron Williams. Even though he is on the hated Jazz, I enjoy his game more than anyone else in the league. Tonight however, I won't enjoy him shredding our defense. Steve Blake and Andre Miller can only hope to combine for an offensive output like Deron's. Miller will be key in the second unit; hopefully he takes this matchup to heart and has a big night in the state of his alma mater.
Brandon Roy will be under a lot of defensive pressure in Utah tonight. Matthews and Brewer will be locking down Roy, which should open up opportunities for other guys. Roy did put up 33 points last time around in SLC though. Rudy needs to show up tonight to help the second unit. I'm not particularly worried about Matthews or Brewer bringing any offense, they are here to complement Deron. Roy and Rudy FTW!
Andrei Kirilenko has thrived in his role has a backup. He seems to have a need to get lost in the mix and just do what he does best, play defense, and do everything but score. I think this is the type of matchup that sways based on who has home court. Martell's inconsistencies will likely be in effect tonight. After a hot night last night, will he have the same confidence going tonight? The X-factor will be Cunningham. He's really starting to make a name for himself and earn playing time. Dante continues to impress, but I like the Jazz here.
Carlos Boozer is back to his old self with the Jazz. When he's committed, he's an absolute monster. He's averaging 21 points and nearly 12 rebounds at home this year. Plus his backup, Millsap, is no slouch. He's at 10 and 6 on the season and these guys are really cleaning the glass. LaMarcus will have a tough time finding the paint so that jumper will need to be extra smooth tonight. I just don't see how we stop Boozer and Millsap at Utah.
In order for Portland to win this game, we must win this matchup in a big way. The Jazz have a solid power forward tandem but our center tandem needs to be better. Okur, as always, will be floating around the perimeter, hopefully not getting it going from long range. But Greg's game continues to improve and should be good again, especially with Andre feeding him the rock. I like our centers here, but this game will be tough. Utah has won 4 of their last 5, and seem to be picking it up.