NBA- (9:05 Et) Portland At Utah

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NBA- (9:05 Et) Portland At Utah


What in the world has happened to the Utah Jazz? Since a six game winning streak that started the last day of February and lasted for eleven days, Utah's descent has taken on Imus-sized proportions. The Jazz are 6-12 since March 13 and have become the best play against team since the Washington Generals were the perfect foil to the Harlem Globetrotters. Jerry Sloan's club is a paralyzing 2-16 against the spread since that fateful or extraordinary day, depending on what side one might be on for wagering purposes.

Like most questions in life, the answers tend to be far more complex and need to be broken down. To start, Andrei Kirilenko has been going in reverse for most of the season. Kirilenko has been injured again this season and is below average in several career categories - points scored, rebounds and free throw attempts. His lack of quality play has been a large detriment, in spite of the team's obvious depth. His lack of contribution is a big reason why despite winning the Northwest Division, the Jazz figure to be just the 5th seed in the West, with no home court advantage having been passed by Houston for four seed. The only way they can steal back the edge is for Houston to lose their last two games and the Jazz to win their last two. At this juncture this hardly seems likely, the way things have gone lately.

While some question if coaching is important in the NBA, unfortunately Utah has become the poster boy for being torn apart by coaching staffs and exposed for weaknesses. For all the depth this team possesses, it has an alarming the lack of quickness. Players like Kirilenko, Derek Fisher, Matt Harpring and Mehmet Okur all lack the capacity to break a defender down, without a series of screens. Opponents have instead played underneath and switched less on screens, creating less area for the Jazz jump shooters to launch attempts. This places far more pressure on Carlos Boozer and still developing Deron Williams to be the creators. Boozer at least has the experience, which is more then can be said for the former Illinois guard. As the season has wore on opposing teams have focused more attention on Williams and forced him into poor decisions with stationary team-mates. This lack of quickness perpetuates on the defensive side also, where they are 17th in points allowed and 19th in steals.

Their opponent Portland has been bit hard by the injury bug. LaMarcus Aldridge, Zach Randolph Joel Przybilla and Ime Udoka have all been shut down for the season. The only upside in another dismal Blazers season has been the development of likely rookie of the year Brandon Roy and Jarrett Jack.

Because of uncertainty of players available for both teams, has not released official numbers on this contest.

After sickening home performance against Phoenix, the Jazz are just 1-10 ATS after their opponent had allowed 100 points or more in their previous game. Utah has failed to cover 8 straight games at the Delta Center. The Trailblazers are 5-2 ATS in last seven and are perfect 5-0 against the spread of a straight up victory.

Utah has gone a long way execution and guile; nonetheless by all appearances a short stay in the post-season looks to be part of their future.

As the regular season winds down pick your spots by reading thru the Betting Trends page and see what others are thinking.

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