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Jazz vs. Nets Preview and Predictions

The Utah Jazz (41-23 SU, 30-32-2 ATS) might have to work themselves through some chemistry issues before all is said and done, but they nonetheless have the personnel to make something happen for themselves in the Western Conference playoffs.

The Brooklyn Nets (30-34 SU, 31-33 ATS) are in a playoff position at the moment, but they are being forced to go through the NBA restart without much of its existing talent, leaving Jacque Vaughn to do a lot of improvisation.

The Jazz and Nets will hook up for an NBA scrimmage game that is set for late Monday afternoon, and it will take place at the HP Arena at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando.

TV: NBA TV, 5:30 PM ET.   LINE: n/a   O/U: n/a

ABOUT THE UTAH JAZZ:   As far as the perceived personal differences between himself and Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert told reporters, “People didn’t have much to talk about for four months, so that was the topic of the moment. Now that we are back playing, I think it’s time to put it behind.” Gobert did a lot of talking on the floor in Utah's 101-99 win against Miami on Saturday. He scored 21 points with eight rebounds. Missing only one of nine field goal attempts, he was fed pretty well by Mitchell and point guard Mike Conley. He played only 23 minutes on the day. Jordan Clarkson had 17 points against the Heat, and that's important because of the absence of the injured Bojan Bogdanovic from the bubble. He may need to pick up his scoring. The same can be said of Gobert. By the way, according to Clarkson, the Jazz have not made a unified decision as to whether they are going to kneel during the national anthem. “Well, we did meet about that. I’m not for sure we’re going to kneel, but we are doing something during the national anthem that will send a message, though,” he said. What the Jazz have to worry about is what happens when Gobert isn't on the floor. During one stretch, the Heat outscored them 13-2, and Tony Bradley, the second-unit center, went scoreless and committed four fouls in 14 minutes in the latest scrimmage.  The idea of picking up the pace is something that is occurring to head coach Quin Snyder. So he is trying a lineup that is smaller around someone like Gobert, with Mitchell, Clarkson, Royce O’Neale and a point guard on the floor at the same time. With Gobert, who's won Defensive Player of the Year the last two seasons, around to patrol the paint, Utah can possibly afford to do that.


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ABOUT THE BROOKLYN NETS:  No one is going to blame the Nets too much if they miss the playoffs; after all, interim coach Jacque Vaughn hasn't been dealt a real good hand. While it is true that they are in seventh place in the East, and six games ahead of the ninth-place Washington Wizards, they are only two games clear when it comes to avoiding a two-game play-in series that will happen if the Wizards are within four games of the eighth seed. The saving grace for teams like the Nets and Orlando Magic is that the Wizards are without their three best offensive players (John Wall, Bradley Beal, Davis Bertans). With the lion's share of its rotation out for one reason or another, Brooklyn doesn't figure to win many of the "seeding games." But after a complete failure in the first scrimmage, where they scored 68 points, the Nets bounced back to beat San Antonio 124-119 in the Saturday scrimmage game. They put six players in double figures, and this included Caris LeVert, who had a game-high 27. That's great news, inasmuch as he is the best player they have left. The experiment in giving Rodions Kurucs minutes at center seems to be going well, as he had 17 points. “He’ll space the floor for us. He’s really learning the nuance of when to roll, when to space, when to be a receiver, when to be a giver.," says Vaughn. It was actually the bench that came up with the late heroics, as it took the lead back from San Antonio in the fourth quarter. New acquisition Tyler Johnson had 17 points in just 18 minutes of play. He is going to figure prominently in the eight games after the restart, and perhaps beyond. The way Brooklyn played on Saturday, there could indeed be a "beyond."

EXTRA POINTS

1. Brooklyn's Chris Chiozza, who wasn't taken in the 2018 draft out of Florida, has been ensuring himself of minutes at the point guard spot. He had seven rebounds and seven assists against San Antonio.

2. According to ESPN analyst (and former All-Star) Paul Pierce, the Jazz would be lucky to get past one round in the playoffs. “There’s something about them that’s not right,' he said. "I don’t know, I can’t put my finger on it. They just don’t have enough.”

3. Amidst all of what is going on in the bubble, the Nets are rumored to be very interested in Zach LaVine as a trade target, although they may have to come up with a better offer than the crosstown Knicks to get him. LaVine, a high flyer, averaged 25.5 points a game for the Chicago Bulls this season.

PREDICTION:  Jazz 107, Nets 100

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Barclays Center
Brooklyn, New York, USA.
Capacity: 17,734

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Last Injuries

Brooklyn Nets

  • Jamal Crawford

    Hamstring
    Out indefinitely | out

    Crawford sustained a left hamstring strain that will keep him out of the lineup for an undetermined length of time.

  • Jarrett Allen

    Ankle
    Ques Fri | questionable

    Allen is dealing with a left ankle sprain, and it is unknown if he will suit up against the Kings on Friday.

  • Joe Harris

    Groin
    Ques Fri | questionable

    Harris has a left a left groin contusion, and it is unclear if he will play Friday against the Kings.

  • Caris LeVert

    Thigh
    Prob Wed | probable

    LeVert missed the previous contest due to a left thigh contusion, but it is expected that he will line up against the Celtics on Wednesday.

  • Joe Harris

    Back
    Prob Wed | probable

    Harris sat out the last game with tightness in his lower back and right hamstring. It is anticipated that he will be available against the Celtics on Wednesday.

  • Jarrett Allen

    Rest
    Out Tues | out

    Allen will not step on the court in Tuesday's clash with the Bucks as he will be rested.

  • Jamal Crawford

    Conditioning
    Prob Tues | probable

    Crawford has missed the last two games due to conditioning purposes. It is anticipated that he will take the court Tuesday versus the Bucks.

  • Rodions Kurucs

    Hip
    Prob Fri | probable

    Kurucs is anticipated to be on the court Friday versus the Magic despite a left hip contusion.

Utah Jazz

  • Nigel Williams-Goss

    Ankle
    Out indefinitely | out

    Williams-Goss has been sidelined with a left ankle sprain, and it is unclear when he will return to the court.

  • Joe Ingles

    Foot
    Prob Fri | probable

    Ingles is projected to be available against the Spurs on Friday despite a sore right foot.

  • Mike Conley

    Knee
    Out Fri | out

    Conley has a sore right knee, and it will prevent him from playing Friday against the Spurs.

  • Mike Scott

    Knee
    Ques Fri | questionable

    Scott has sat out the past three games due to soreness in his right knee, and it is uncertain if he will draw back into the lineup against the Magic on Friday.