Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Three weeks ago today, the Utah Jazz, coming off a signature win over the San Antonio Spurs, were on a four game winning streak. During that streak the Jazz had beat Orlando and Toronto and had come off two big wins, one at the Lakers, and the other, the Spurs at home.
Expectations were riding high as they went on the road to Phoenix. With a back to back looming the next night at home versus the smoking hot Grizzlies, the Jazz needed a win against the Suns to keep momentum in their favor. Problem was, it was a road game. And it’s no secret the struggles the Jazz have had on the road. But, as well as the Jazz had been playing at home, a win on the road versus the Suns and they could have been looking at a potential six game winning streak.
Then it happened…
The Jazz had a stale, lackluster performance against the Suns. The effort wasn’t there and they mustered just 84 points in a blowout game.
The wheels came off at that point, and the downward spiral began. The Jazz who were sitting at 13-10, three games above .500, suddenly found themselves heading in the wrong direction. Over the next 10 game stretch the Jazz went 3-7 with offensive struggles and trends that had Jazz fans jumping off ledges and calling for coaching changes.
The Jazz were averaging 101.6 ppg through 23 games to that point, but since that night three weeks ago, the Jazz have averaged an abysmal 93.1 ppg. The offense has seen horrible spacing, lack of movement, and lackluster performances on more than one occasion.
Resident AccuScore specialist, Rohit Ghosh, is indisposed today, but he sent along these tidbits for tonight’s tilt:
The Phoenix Suns are surprisingly [somewhat] heavy favorites tonight as they host the visiting Utah Jazz. AccuScore gives Phoenix a 60.3 percent chance at getting the win, with nearly a 57 percent chance at covering the -1.5 spread. The average score after 10,000 simulations is 100-98.
While Phoenix just has a slightly higher chance at getting a close win (4 points or fewer), they have a much higher probability of getting a big win (10 points or more). There is a 48.7 percent chance the total score goes over 198, and a 49.2 percent chance it goes under.
Al Jefferson is projected to lead the way for Utah with 16 points (47% FG), 9 rebounds, and 1 block. Jared Dudley is projected to be the Suns’ leading scorer with 15 points.
Well, it’s redemption time! It all has come full circle. Tonight the Jazz visit Phoenix again. The Suns are on their own downward spiral having won only four of their last ten. It’s time for the Jazz to get back on track. Back to winning basketball.
The Jazz are only a game back of the 8th seed in the Western Conference and a game below .500. With a home heavy schedule starting at the end of the month, the Jazz need to get back to winning. Back to the basics of fundamental basketball, starting with offensive production.
That lowly night in Phoenix three weeks ago began a frustrating end to 2012. Tonight, could be the turnaround needed to start 2013 off with a bang.
Let the quest for redemption begin.