Utah continues their East Conference trip tonight with its only trip to South FL. this season. Will the Jazz have Gobert available? Miami is a 4-point NBA odds favorite with a total of 184.
Gobert Tweaks Ankle
Utah (4-3) is definitely a team on the rise in the Western Conference -- the Jazz might be the fifth-best team in the weaker East right now -- and showed how good it could be in a 118-114 loss in Cleveland on Tuesday night. Utah gave the Cavaliers fits and led by nine midway through the fourth quarter before LeBron James took over. Alec Burks led Utah with 24 points while Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors each added 17.
Rudy Gobert, the Jazz's 7-foot-1 Frenchman center who is one of the best shot-blockers, rebounders and all-around paint defenders in the NBA, twisted his ankle late in the fourth quarter but returned to the game. He had X-rays afterward as a precaution and they were negative. Gobert didn't practice on Wednesday and is officially questionable for Thursday. If he's out, that's a big deal. Gobert is averaging 8.7 points, 11.9 rebounds and 3.4 blocks per game (third in NBA).
Utah leads the NBA in allowing just 89.7 points per game and .409 shooting largely because of Gobert. The Jazz force turnovers on 16.2 percent of their opponents' possessions, No. 3 in the NBA, and are holding them to 53.8 percent shooting at the rim on just 24.4 attempts per game; both are the second-lowest numbers in the league.
The Jazz are 5-2 against the spread on NBA odds and 2-5 'over/under.'
Heat Look For 3rd Win In Row
I previewed Miami's home game vs. the Lakers on Tuesday here at SBR and recommended giving the 12 points to Los Angeles. That worked out, barely, as the Heat won 101-88. The Lakers' made two garbage-time baskets in the final minute to almost cover. Los Angeles was without Kobe Bryant, who was supposed to play but was a late scratch apparently because his back flared up.
Chris Bosh had his best game of the season for Miami (5-3) with 30 points (season high) and 11 rebounds. Hassan Whiteside continues to be a double-double machine with 19 points and 15 rebounds. Dwyane Wade was just 5-for-14 from the field -- his third straight game struggling -- for 12 points. The Heat were down a player in that one because they traded backup point guard Mario Chalmers to Memphis essentially only for salary relief (and guard Beno Udrih and forward Jarnell Stokes) of about $6 million on luxury tax payments. Chalmers had been largely usurped as the No. 2 behind Goran Dragic by Tyler Johnson. With the departure of Chalmers, the only remaining members of the Heat's 2013 championship team are Wade, Bosh, Chris Andersen and forward Udonis Haslem. Those latter two rarely play if at all and the team would love to deal Andersen to save more money.
The Heat also remain without reserve guard Gerald Green, who was hospitalized last week under mysterious circumstances. Clearly it wasn't health-related because the Heat suspended Green two games this week. He can return Friday.
Miami is 5-3 against the spread on NBA picks and 1-7 O/U. All five heat wins this season are by double digits.
The teams played twice in the span of five days in December 2014 and each won on the road. In Salt Lake City, the Heat won 100-95 behind 29 points from Wade despite him playing through flu-like symptoms. Bosh added 22 points. The Jazz were down 98-95 and had possession but couldn't get the ball inbounds. Former Jazz player Enes Kanter led Utah with 25 points. Favors had only four in 10 minutes. Gobert was still a reserve then and had nine points, 11 rebounds and five blocks. In the game in south Florida, the Jazz rolled 105-87 despite a season-high 42 points from Wade. Hayward had 29 to lead Utah and Gobert six points and nine rebounds. Bosh didn't play for the Heat and neither did Whiteside. Miami is 2-2 in its past four home meetings with Utah.
NBA Free Picks: Even if Gobert plays, will he be 100 percent? Go Heat and 'Under' that low total. The Heat are 5-1 ATS in their past six at home. The 'Under' is 4-1 in Utah's past five on the road. The 'Under' has hit in seven straight Miami games.
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