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Game Preview #18: San Antonio Spurs @ Utah Jazz

Since the Spurs are playing the Jazz tonight, here's an old school video showing George Gervin and Pistol Pete Maravich playing horse. This is from the 1977-1978 season, when CBS showed a pre-taped horse tournament during the halftime of games.

Gotta love the shorts!

Maravich is still the all-time leading scorer for the NCAA, even though he couldn't play as a freshman and basketball didn't have a 3-point line at that time.

Maravich played with the Jazz when the team was still in New Orleans. When the team moved to Utah, it kept the nickname, rather than changing it to one that would make sense. Vancouver probably has grizzlies; Memphis does not. And there are no lakes in LA. This is not a phenomenon limited to only the NBA - it happens across all leagues. So, tonight's question is: Should teams change their nicknames to something more appropriate when they move to new cities? Discuss amongst yourselves in the comments.

Now onto the actual preview.

We need this game. We really, really need this game. Unfortunately, we are on the road against a good team. I'm not overly optimistic. Plus, it's cold.

San Antonio Spurs @ Utah Jazz
Where: EnergySolutions Arena - Salt Lake City, Utah
When: December 7, 2009, 8:00 PM Spurs time
Watch: My35 (SA), FSUT (SLC)


How They Stack Up
8-4 Home 8-3
1-4 Road 3-5
Offense 101.2
96.1 Defense 97.3
46.4 FG% 49.4
3-pt% 35.1
FT% 74.8
Rebounds 40.6
TOs 14.8
5-5 Last 10 7-3
Lost 2
Streak Lost 1
3rd, Southwest Position 3rd, Northwest

Country/Time Zone Game Time
Argentina 11:00 PM
Crazy Land
6:00 PM
Philippines 10:00 AM
Central Europe 3:00 AM
Palestine/Egypt 4:00 AM
East Coast 9:00 PM
Frozen Tundra
7:00 PM
Perth, AUS 10:00 AM
Tokyo, JP 11:00 AM
Sydney, AUS 12:00 PM



Tony Parker
Turnover Machine

Point Guard

Last year, Tony really picked up his game and carried the team through stretches. This year, it seems he's having trouble integrating with the new parts. Williams has upped his assists to 9.9 per game. He's also scoring efficiently from the point guard position.

Advantage: Jazz

Deron Williams
Assist Machine


Keith Bogans

Shooting Guard

Bogans is another one of those players whose contributions don't always show up in the box score. We Spurs fans like those players. Matthews is a rookie, but Sloan trusts him enough to play Wesley 23 mpg. I'm going to lean towards experience in this matchup.

Advantage: Spurs

Wesley Matthews


Richard Jefferson
Finding his way

Small Forward

RJ is still feeling his way in the Spurs system. I think he's slowly getting there. Kirilenko lost his way last season, but he seems to have found his type of play again. His stats are up across the board. Slight advantage to the Russian.

Advantage: Jazz

Andrei Kirilenko
Found his way


Tim Duncan

Power Forward

We all know what Timmeh has been doing this year. Surprisingly, Boozer has quit trying to get a trade and has been playing well. His numbers are as good as Duncan's. Duncan gets the white box because I include defense in my analysis and because he's Timmeh.

Advantage: Spurs

Carlos Boozer
Better than last year


Antonio McDyess
Fitting In


McDyess has been a little up and down, but overall he has done what we've needed him to do. Okur works perfectly in the Jazz system. Although Mehmet is not as good of a rebounder or defender as Antonio, his point production and minutes played give him the edge over Dice.

Advantage: Jazz

Mehmet Okur
Already knows the system


Manu Ginobili
Getting Up to Speed

Bench & Role Players

Manu is getting his basketball legs back, and the bench is continuing to be productive (except against the Nuggets). I'm interested in seeing Blair and Millsap compete in the paint. Will there be any rebounds for the other players on the court? Our depth should prove superior, as the Jazz have only 8 players averaging more than 10 mpg.

Advantage: Spurs

Paul Millsap
Undersized Rebounding Machine


Gregg Popovich
Future HOFer


These are two of the greatest coaches in NBA history. Sloan has done a good job this year with minimizing any drama and getting his team to play. Sloan still does not have a Coach of the Year award. Only people who get fired win those.

Advantage: Tied

Jerry Sloan
Future HOFer
images via


Other Factors



We need this more than the Jazz do.

Advantage: Spurs


We've had two tough losses in a row. Plus, the game is in Utah, where we are 1-4 the last three seasons.

Advantage: Jazz

Winner: Jazz

The Spurs need another victory after losing to the Celtics and the Nuggets. The Jazz need to keep pace with the Nuggets. It should be a close one.
Prediction: Jazz win in a sqeaker.

Keys To The Game

  • Turnovers, Turnovers, Turnovers - Too much sloppy play and too many turnovers lately. This will not work against a Jerry Sloan team. We need clean up the play and execute better..
  • No Crappy Quarters -Each game, the Spurs have one really bad quarter. It's hard to win when you lose a quarter by 10 points.
  • Bench - Depth is an obvious strength for the Spurs. BAM needs to outplay the Jazz's 2nd unit and repeat it's stellar play from the Boston game.

Strength of Schedule

We'll be playing on one day of rest, coming off of a home loss to the Nuggets. This game marks the end of a tough week for the Spurs.

The Jazz are coming off of a road loss to the T-Wolves on the back end of a SEGABABA. They also will be playing on one day of rest.

Last Time They Met

Our last meeting with the Jazz was November 19th. We lost 90-83 and neither Tony nor Manu played. Millsap and Williams killed us. Utah won at San Antonio for the first time this decade.

Some Other Reading


SLC Dunk - The Jazz SBN blog. Head over there to check out the green and yellow retro unis the Jazz wore against Indiana.
Salt City Hoops - This is the TrueHoop network blog for the Jazz. I know nothing about this blog, but it looks snazzy.


48 Minutes of Hell: Best damn TrueHoop affiliate out there. Always a must visit Spurs site.
Project Spurs: Features live chats, call-in shows and podcasts (in Spanish too), with lots of content.

Twitter Musings

MoneyMase And you were ALL A PART of the LARGEST TWITTER TICKET GIVEAWAY IN HISTORY by your boy @Moneymase ! Tell a friend!
George_Hill3 Thanks for everyone that came out with me and @DeJuan45 at country lanes bowling alley. Had a blast Thanks SA you all we got.

You can also find all the official Spurs Sports & Entertainment Twitter accounts here:

Where to Tune In


This game will be aired by My35 in San Antonio and by FSUT in Salt Lake. If you have cable or satellite, you'll have to look up your individual channel. And of course, there's always League Pass for the haves. For the have nots, read on.


As always, NBA League Pass is recommended for those who are willing to pony up the cash. Most Spurs games will be broadcast there, which is especially helpful for those of us who aren't in the San Antonio area.

Please don't post links to illegal game feeds in the game thread. Links to illegal feeds are not permitted on SBNation, but you can probably find them out there on the internets if you're resourceful and desperate. In fact, nobody can stop you from googling "atdhe". You can also shoot an email to for more assistance.

NBA League Pass audio is still free this year, so check it out.


If you're in the San Antonio area and aren't near a TV, tune in to WOAI (1200 AM).