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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Utah Jazz

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The Spurs begin a three-game road trip out west by taking on a team they might face in the first round of the playoffs, the surging Utah Jazz.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs @ Utah Jazz

EnergySolutions Arena - Salt Lake City, UT
Date: 4/5/16, Time: 8:00 PM Spurs Time
TV: FSSW  - RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI

There are essentially three teams in the West eyeing the last two playoff spots, and the Utah Jazz are currently on the inside looking out -- if that's what you do when you're on the inside. Maybe you just kind of look around, breathing in that sweet, sweet inside air and mingling with your fellow insiders---that is, unless you have to be wary of that nettlesome outsider trying to snatch your place, in which case all your efforts should be singularly put towards keeping that interloper at bay, lest you be displaced and cast out forever! Or at least until October.

The Jazz knew they had a roster good enough to contend for a postseason spot -- it was just a matter of time and health. And though they're still not at full strength, they have enough of their key pieces back (not to mention a more respectable starter manning the point) to do so. They may also get another player back tonight, with swingman Alec Burks expected to return this week.

Utah's won 10 of their last 13 games (including that oh-so-close OT loss to Golden State) and, unsurprisingly, their defense has played an important role. The Warriors and Thunder are the only two teams to crack 100 against them, which is no surprise when a team has one of (one of!) the best defensive one-two punches in the league. Paired with strong wing scorers and some impressive performances from Trey Lyles, the Jazz will make for a tricky first-round opponent in the playoffs.

I'm pretty sure a full and focused Spurs squad would win tonight. But we know what's at stake in the coming weeks, not to mention this week's back-to-back on Thursday and Friday that must be factored in (although my suspicion is that Pop also goes heavy on the rest in Oakland). At the moment of writing this, Boris Diaw is the only player confirmed to miss time on the trip:

The bottom line is it's hard to predict a Spurs road win against a strong team with much more to play for. Should that discourage you from watching? No! Because...

Matchup to watch: Boban Marjanovic versus Rudy Gobert. Can we see at least a few minutes of this tonight?

Wait -- I think I found some existing footage.

Must have been from Eurobasket.

San Antonio Spurs: 64-12

Utah Jazz: 39-38

April 5, 2016

EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah

8:00 pm, CDT

TV: FSSW

Starters

Tony Parker*

PG

Shelvin Mack

Danny Green*

SG

Rodney Hood

Kawhi Leonard*

SF

Gordon Hayward

LaMarcus Aldridge*

PF

Derrick Favors

Tim Duncan*

C

Rudy Gobert

Game prediction: Jazz by 8.

For the Jazz fans' perspective, visit SLC Dunk.

As always Tony must dominate Fisher.