The Utah Jazz (26-36) welcome the New York Knicks (12-50) tonight to EnergySolutions Arena, tipping-off at 7:00 PM. The Jazz come into the game after a 4-game road trip where they went 3-1. They have also won 9 out of their last 12 games. The Knicks, on the other hand, have lost 4 straight games and 12 out of their last 14. Only the Indiana Pacers (9-2), Golden State Warriors (10-3), and Oklahoma City Thunder (10-3) have better records than Utah (9-3) since February 7. Tonight’s game is game 1 of a 5-game homestand.
The Utah Jazz continue to improve defensively and are now 2nd best in the NBA in points allowed, only giving up 96.0 points per game. They have allowed an opponent to score 100 points only twice in their last 13 games. Rudy Gobert is a main reason for the team’s success as of late as he playing well defensively. He is a difference maker under the basket for the Jazz defensively. Gobert is averaging 14.0 rebounds and 2.6 blocks over the past eight games. Gobert leads the team overall in blocks with 2.3 rejections per game. He is third in the NBA in blocked shots behind Anthony Davis (2.8) and Serge Ibaka (2.5). The Jazz have been the league’s best defensive team since the All-Star break, allowing a league-low average of 83.6 points while ranking second with a 39.8 defensive field-goal percentage in those nine games. The Knicks are giving up 101.3 points per game this season.
In the 2 teams’ previous meeting on November 14, Gordon Hayward scored a season-high 33 points at Madison Square Garden. Deerick Favors added 21 points and 12 rebounds, while Trey Burke hit a long jumper at the buzzer in Utah’s 102-100 road win over the Knicks.
Here is Utah Jazz Head Coach Quin Snyder with the media following shoot around today:
Gordon Hayward continues to lead the team in scoring and steals at 19.5 points per game and 1.4 steals per game. Derrick Favors is averaging 16.2 points per game and leads the team in rebounding at 8.2 boards per game. Trey Burke continues to play well off of the bench, averaging 12.9 points per game and a team-high 4.5 assists per game.
Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz met up with the media after shoot around today. Here is that audio:
The Jazz will still have to play well tonight. They have to execute on offense as well as defensively. They can’t turnover the ball. They need to jump out to an early lead and hold on to it, they can’t let the Knicks hang around, you never know what can happen. They can’t look past the Knicks and look ahead as they have the Houston Rockets coming to EnergySolutions Arena on Wednesday.
Here is Utah Jazz Forward Derrick Favors with the media after shoot around:
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