The Utah Jazz will host the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday in an enticing 2020-21 NBA matchup at the Vivint Arena. Quin Snyder's side returned to the top of the Western Conference after a dominant first-half defensive display helped them to an 11-point win over the Spurs on Monday.
However, the San Antonio Spurs will be out for revenge and look to halt a four-game losing run that has put their play-in tournament hopes in jeopardy.
Fixture: San Antonio Spurs vs Utah Jazz | NBA Season 2020-21.
Date & Time: Wednesday, May 5th; 9:00 PM ET (Thursday, 6th May; 6:30 AM IST).
Venue: Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City, UT.
San Antonio Spurs Preview
The San Antonio Spurs face an uphill battle as they strive to seal their place in the play-in tournament. Gregg Popovich's side have the most difficult fixture schedule of any team in the competition. Their task could get more complicated, as their last ten games feature opponents ranked 11th in the league for defensive rating.
More frustratingly, and perhaps worryingly for San Antonio Spurs, they have lost narrowly (by less than six points) in five of their six previous losses prior to Monday. That doesn't bode well for their hopes of making the play-in tournament. Against teams currently on a plus 0.5 record this year, the San Antonio Spurs have a record of 9-20.
Key Player - DeMar DeRozan
If there is any player who can carry the San Antonio Spurs into the playoffs, it is DeMar DeRozan.
The 31-year-old is having yet another consistent season, scoring 21.7 points a night on 49% shooting. He has also got to the line 7.3 times a game, which ranks him ninth in the league for most free-throw attempts. He has sunk 88% of his free throws, which puts him fourth among players who have taken more than five throws a game.
DeRozan returned to the lineup against the Utah Jazz and led his San Antonio Spurs teammates with 22 points and six assists on the night. He will need to put in a similar performance if his team wishes to win on Wednesday.
San Antonio Spurs Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Dejounte Murray | Shooting Guard - DeMar DeRozan | Small Forward - Devin Vassell | Power Forward - Keldon Johnson | Center - Jakob Poeltl.
Utah Jazz Preview
The Utah Jazz have been prolific all year and will be disappointed if they miss out on the no.1 seed in the West. They certainly won't want to face the LA Lakers, Dallas Mavericks or Portland Trail Blazers, who are all fighting for the seventh seed, whom they could face if the Jazz finish second.
Even without Donovan Mitchell, who remains sidelined for another week, the Utah Jazz comfortably saw off the San Antonio Spurs on Monday. Bojan Bogdanovic was terrific once again from the field, scoring 25 points, while Rudy Gobert had a 24-point, 15-rebound night.
In their last ten matchups, the Utah Jazz have the league's best defensive rating, holding opponents to an average of only 106.3 points. They have also grabbed the most defensive rebounds in this period, with 38.1 per matchup, while conceding the fourth-fewest fast break points.
Key Player - Rudy Gobert
Rudy Gobert has been the anchor for the Utah Jazz defense all season and has continued to lead the team while Mitchell is injured. On Monday, Gobert had three blocks, two steals and a +/- rating of nine as he continues to compete for a third NBA Defensive Player of the Year award.
In his last ten games, Gobert has led the league in blocks per matchup, with 3.1, and was second only to teammate Mike Conley for defensive win share. Not only is the Frenchman a dominant presence in the paint, he is also extremely efficient from the floor; he leads the league in effective field goal percentage with 67.9%.
Utah Jazz Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Joe Ingles | Shooting Guard - Royce O'Neale | Small Forward - Georges Niang | Power Forward - Bojan Bogdanovic | Center - Rudy Gobert.
Spurs vs Jazz Prediction
Like in their last matchup, the San Antonio Spurs will likely struggle to score against a tough Utah Jazz defense.
Gobert should be at the heart of most plays and could once again be the deciding factor on the night. He bullied Jakob Poeltl down low, limiting him to only six points and three rebounds. Considering their stifling defensive efficiency, the Utah Jazz could have another comfortable home win on the night.
Where to watch Spurs vs Jazz?
In the USA, the game will be broadcast locally on AT&T Sportsnet and on Bally Sports Southwest - San Antonio. It will also be shown nationally on NBA TV and can be streamed live with an NBA League Pass.