The last meeting between these two teams didn’t go well for the Utah Jazz. Not only did the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Jazz 106-74, but Utah lost their top rookie in Trey Burke to a finger injury that has him sidelined for weeks.
Expect the results to be the same considering the talent disparity between the two teams.
The most important thing about this preseason game is that the Clippers players are getting healthy. In the pre-game conference with Doc Rivers, he noted that shooting guard J.J. Redick will definitely be playing tonight.
“He had really two good days of practice. Probably did more than we thought. Going into practice they said he would only go about half and he went through the entire session,” said Rivers when speaking on Redick returning to practice earlier this week.
Rivers also announced that rookie Reggie Bullock will be playing in tonight’s game.
Matt Barnes, who has been dealing with a calf injury, won’t be making an appearance in tonight’s game. Rivers noted that if he isn’t ready by Friday’s preseason finale versus the Sacramento Kings then the aim will be the season opener versus the Los Angeles Lakers.
Rivers as spoke on Gordon Hayward‘s responsibilities as a playmaker for the Jazz which have increased tremendously since Burke went down.
“It’s hard from that position. It’s easier when you’re at the point guard obviously, but Gordon gonna be asked to do a lot and that’s hard. In Orlando I had Tracy [McGrady] and I always felt bad for him cause Grant [Hill] was hurt. When you’re the guy and you’re the guy for a while that’s a hard guy”.
Last season Hayward averaged three assists per game in 29 minutes per night. With Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson on different teams after leaving in free agency, Hayward will have a huge burden to carry for this club meaning those numbers will likely spike until Burke returns.
If the “Big 3″ for Utah in Hayward, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter can make their presence felt tonight, then this game may be competitive.