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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Utah Jazz

Can the good guys avenge their Tuesday's 15-point loss? See what happens in Spurs v Jazz 2: Salt Lake Boogaloo.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs at Utah Jazz

Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
Date: 11/04/16, Time: 8:00 PM Spurs Time

The Spurs' first loss of the season came at the deft hands of the Jazz earlier this week. They'll look to get one back in Utah, but how many of the trends from Tuesday night will carry over tonight?

Ready the torches and pitchforks

George Hill had a lot to do with his team's 15-point win in San Antonio, going for an efficient 22 and 7 and helping put the game away in the fourth quarter. And it wasn't just a fluke-y revenge performance -- in five games as a member of the Jazz, Hill is averaging 21.4 points, 4.6 assists and three boards, with ridiculous shooting percentages to boot.

He's often been knocked for not being enough of a traditional playmaker, but Hill was by far the game's better starting point guard on Tuesday. He consistently got to wherever he wanted on the floor, either knocking down the open look or forcing the defense to collapse and finding a teammate for the open three. A lot of that isn't Parker's fault, since Hill feasted on pick and rolls against Pau Gasol, but it's hard to defend Parker's performance when he can't provide much resistance on one end and can't make things happen on the other.

Enter Mills, who will likely get the start while the Frenchman sits with leg soreness. Tony's had a rough start to the year, and who knows how much that injury is to blame, but there's no doubt that the offense is scarier right now with Patty on the floor. Some fans have already been calling for change, but the rabble will grow should his insertion into the starting lineup leads to a Spurs win.

Spurs need to be better in the half court

We're early into the season, but the Spurs are 28th in the NBA in possessions per game while the Jazz are dead last. Both sides prefer a slower pace, but it likely suits the Jazz more as it puts them in the best position to collapse into a dark and hopeless singularity when Kawhi gets in the paint.

Of course, the above possession actually resulted in a rare late Spurs bucket, but it is symbolic of the game's final stretch, when San Antonio's offense relied too much on Kawhi's ability to make something out of nothing. It's possible fatigue played into that -- this was the Spurs' fifth game in eight nights -- but I'd still like to see better in what was a winnable game.

One thing I did like from the Spurs' fourth quarter was this nifty Pau-LaMarcus pick-and-roll action. The play didn't result in a bucket, but it still shows promise as a way of confusing big men who aren't used to defending a 4-5 PnR.

In a slower game, San Antonio also has to do better with its perimeter D. The Jazz hit 15 of their 31 three-point attempts on Tuesday, and a number of those were simply open looks.

The bench must bounce back

The Jazz reserves outscored San Antonio's on Tuesday, 45 to 24, nullifying what's normally one of the Spurs' greatest strengths.

A lot of that is thanks to second-year player Trey Lyles, who looks like a bad matchup for almost every Spurs big. He was an active body on offense, moving the ball with purpose and making up for what wasn't an especially efficient shooting night. Boris Diaw didn't suit up because of a leg injury, but Lyles was probably doing a better job of spelling Diaw anyway.

This game feels like a coin flip, but it would be pretty Spurs to lose two in a row to Utah and let people run wild with stories about a sea change in the Western Conference.


Utah Jazz logo for preview

San Antonio Spurs

(Record: 4-1)

Utah Jazz

(Record: 3-2)

November 4, 2016

Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah

8:00 PM CDT



Patty Mills


George Hill

Kyle Anderson


Rodney Hood

Kawhi Leonard


Joe Johnson

LaMarcus Aldridge


Derrick Favors

Pau Gasol


Rudy Gobert

Vegas line: Spurs by 4.

Game prediction: Jazz by 5.

For the Jazz  fans' perspective, visit SLC Dunk.

As always Tony must dominate Fisher.

As always, PtR's Gamethread will be up this evening for those who want to chat through the game. But if you're not able to log in here, you can try the Fanvana app which helps connect sports fans and was created by a fellow Spurs fan. Check out the free app on iOS or Android to discover other Spurs fans and join the live chatter for tonight's game. You can follow PtR's tweet stream directly on Fanvana as the game unfolds.