Utah Jazz vs. Portland Trail Blazers 10/7/14
Portland Trail Blazers (0-0) at Utah Jazz (0-0)
NBA Preseason: Monday, October 7, 2014 at 9:00 pm (EnergySolutions Arena)
The Line: Utah Jazz +4 -- Over/Under: 196.5 See the Latest Odds
The Utah Jazz hosts the Portland Trail Blazers in preseason NBA action on Tuesday night.
It’s going to be another long season for this young Utah Jazz squad, albeit a fun one. When I say ‘young’, I mean it as fifteen of the nineteen players invited to training camp will be 25 or younger by the time October 31st rolls around. The roster is littered with young talent, none more important than fourth-year big man Derrick Favours, who averaged 13.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.2 assists per game while shooting 52.2% from the field and 66.9% from the free throw line last season. If Favours can take the next step this season, it will go a long way to seeing the Jazz climb up the Western Conference standings. Gordon Hayward is also back in the mix after Utah matched his max offer sheet from the Charlotte Hornets in the offseason. Being a Hornets fan, I was happy that the Jazz matched because it was clearly an overpay and that meant they could go out and get Lance Stephenson on a better deal.
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Along with the Phoenix Suns, the Portland Trail Blazers were the big surprise team of last season. Well, they weren't a huge surprise to me because they were my breakout team of 2013-14. Can the Trail Blazers back things up and win 50 games again in a brutally tough Western Conference? I think they can. While they can't really afford any injuries to any of their starters bar Robin Lopez, let's not forget this team boasts two All-Star talents in LaMarcus Aldridge and Damien Lillard, who are just coming into their prime. Portland has always been a tough place to get a victory and I don't expect anything to change anytime soon. Also, the additions of Steve Blake and Chris Kaman in the summer were pretty handy pickups. I'm a fan of this young squad and I don't see much drop off from them this season.
This is my strongest play of the preseason thus far. With Utah having such a young team, it means a lot of their better players will play extended mintues. While for Portland, I wouldn't imagine the likes of Aldridge, Batum and Matthews getting an extended run. I think Utah win this one straight up...
Dan's Pick: Utah +4
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