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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Utah Jazz

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Last week didn't go as planned, with the Spurs following up a loss in LA with a thrashing at Golden State. There's one week left in the Rodeo Road Trip, and it begins tonight against a re-jigged Jazz team.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs @ Utah Jazz

EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah
February 23, 2015, 8:00 PM Spurs Time
TV: FSSW - RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI

The Spurs' hopes of ascending the Western Conference ranks were sandbagged last week, with sobering losses to the Clips and Ws. And while they looked distressingly mortal at times, especially when scrambling around on defense, I still think they'll end up higher than seventh by season's end. But that's as far as my confidence extends at the moment.

San Antonio has a chance to steal one back by taking on Utah, who was held to 69 points the last time the two teams played. Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward and Trey Burke shot a combined 12 of 41 from the field, in what was an all-around ice-cold shooting night.

It'll be a slightly-different-looking team the Spurs face this time around, after Utah put an end to its dubious relationship with former top-3 pick Enes Kanter. Kanter was shipped off to OKC during last week's league-wide game of musical chairs, giving way for starting-center-in-waiting Rudy Gobert. The rangy Frenchman with nearly a 10-foot standing reach could ride the bench no longer, and his presence in the starting lineup gives Utah a clearer picture of what its roster of the future will look like.

Gobert's insertion into the starting lineup leads me to believe Pop might go with the Red Rocket over Aron Baynes to start the game, allowing him to pull either Gobert or Favors away from the rim. Movement and execution will determine how well the Spurs can exploit their defense, which looked very good in defeating the Blazers last week.

For the third time in a row I'm picking a Spurs win on the road. Gulp.

Matchup to watch: Hayward vs. Leonard. Kawhi stifled the Jazz star last time around, and his production remains vital to a team that struggles to put points on the board. We should also continue to see a good number of plays drawn up for Whi, which are always a treat.

vs.

Utah Jazz (20-32)

San Antonio Spurs (33-)

February 23, 2015

EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah

8:00 PM CDT

TV: FSSW

Radio: WOAI 1200AM

Starters

Dante Exum

PG

Tony Parker

Joe Ingles

SG

Danny Green

Gordon Hayward

SF

Kawhi Leonard

Derrick Favors

PF

Matt Bonner

Rudy Gobert

C

Tim Duncan


For the Jazz perspective, please visit SLC Dunk.

Game prediction: Spurs by 6.

As always Tony must dominate Fisher, and you can get your San Antonio Spurs tickets from Daniel Farias with Spurs Sports & Entertainment: Tel: 210-444-5607 | dfarias@attcenter.com