Jordan’s NBA picks record: 19-10
Wednesday, 9 p.m. ET
Free NBA Pick: ‘Under’
Best Line Offered: BetOnline
Not only has Utah ranked near the bottom of the league in offense this season, but the Warriors’ defense is starting to look a little better lately. As long as they can contain Rudy Gobert gobbling up offensive rebounds, can the Warriors hold their opponent to less than 100 points for the second game in a row?
Warriors’ Improving Defense
With the return of Draymond Green, the Warriors’ defense has quietly been improving. They are still nowhere near where they’ve been over the last couple years, but after a pretty good last five games on that end of the court, the Dubs have a 108.3 defensive rating, which ranks 15th.
Since their December 7 win over the Bucks in Milwaukee, the Warriors have been even better, holding their opponents to just 101.9 points per 100 possessions. Considering the Jazz have scored less than that over the same stretch, there is little chance in my eyes that Utah is all of a sudden going to run up the score, even at home.
Utah has been much better at home this season scoring, so the total isn’t way off even if it is a little high. The Jazz own the league’s 11th-best home offensive rating of 112.1. They also dropped 123 points on the Warriors in October.
However, this is a very much what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league. Lately (three of their last five games) the Jazz haven’t reach triple digits. None of those were at home, though, because of their game in Mexico against the Magic. The Jazz have notoriously played a ton of road games to start the year and they have been MUCH better at home on both ends.
The Sharp Pick
This being the second meeting of the season between these teams, I see the scoring dropping a lot from their first game. This is definitely not a trend pick, either. The Jazz are 8-3 cashing the “over” at home, but they were underdogs only once in those 11 games, so this is somewhat different from their previous few home games.
The Warriors have not played well against the Jazz in past regular-season matchups as well. Last year the Dubs’ highest-scoring game against Utah in the regular season was 101 points. There is also the distinct possibility that the Warriors are the ones struggling on offense.
My eyes see too many red flags when it comes to this total. Not only that, but with the possibility of both teams playing slow on offense and tough on defense, the “under” has too much value to overlook. My hope is we get defensive intensity from the tip from Utah, while also being a little too jacked up for the big game that they miss some shots early.
I do think Utah plays better on both ends in this game, making for what should be an exciting Wednesday night showdown. I think naturally if the score stays close, the defense will pick up as the game goes into the second half. I sincerely doubt either team scores into the 110s or 120s.
Final score prediction: Warriors 110, Jazz 106