Utah Jazz vs. Portland Trail Blazers - 2/20/15 NBA Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Portland Trail Blazers (36-17) at Utah Jazz (19-34)
NBA Basketball: Friday, February 20, 2015 at 9:00 pm (EnergySolutions Arena)
The Line: Utah Jazz +5 -- Over/Under: 194.5 See the Latest Odds
TV: ROOT, CSNW
The Portland Trail Blazers look to maintain their prime spot in the Western standings as they visit the Utah Jazz on Friday night.
The Portland Trail Blazers are third in the West standings, but they’re just 5-5 in their last ten games and enter as winners of their last two. The Blazers have beaten the Rockets and lost in OT to the Mavericks in their last two road outings, but the team actually lost their previous three on the road against East teams. The Blazers know the Jazz plenty well enough not to overlook them or come out flat, so I expect to see a strong effort. The Blazers have such a strong starting lineup right now with Lopez and Aldridge both healthy down low to complement the dynamic Damian Lillard and Wesley Matthews and fundamentally strong Nicholas Batum. The bench leaves something to be desired but Portland has addressed that via trade while picking up Arron Afflalo. The Blazers are eighth in the league defensively allowing 97.3 points per game and are 13-12 on the road this season.
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The Utah Jazz won’t contend in the West this season with a record of 19-34, but they’ve still been capable of giving good teams a game, with a 103-102 loss to the Blazers on February 3rd especially relevant. The Jazz have also won twice as an underdog in the last two weeks of play, including an upset of the Golden State Warriors. So we know the Jazz have the capacity to give the Blazers a game here, but will they be able to pull it off on their home court where they’re just 10-15? Gordon Hayward is hot of late, averaging 22.6 points per game over his last five to surpass his strong season average. The Jazz will also look for big efforts out of Derrick Favors and Trey Burke, but the offense is sputtering without a true court leader in the starting five. The Jazz rank tenth in the league defensively while allowing 98.2 points per game.
The Blazers are far superior especially after the Jazz dealt away key pieces like Kanter. It's Portland or nothing here.