Originally written December 12, 2012 on Project Spurs:
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The matchup of the game between the San Antonio Spurs and Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City will be between forward Tim Duncan and center Al Jefferson. These two players play different positions but, as Spurs fans know, Duncan plays both big man roles depending on who is on the floor with him and opposing teams usually mix and match their big men against him. This matchup is going to be huge for this game as the Spurs will need Duncan to contribute in the paint at times and the Jazz have a big man rotation who can guard him (Jefferson, Paul Milsap, Derrick Favors) well. Jefferson will be huge to slow the game down for the Jazz as the Spurs will be looking to get good open shots as fast as they can. Jefferson's points (17ppg this season) come from the paint where he is shooting 49% from the field.  Duncan, on the other hand, has a more versatile game. He can play a slower game where he posts up and can shoot spot up jump shots to open up the paint for his guards. He's averaging 17.7ppg with 51% shooting. If Duncan still has the vintage legs he's been playing with, it'll be a long night for Jefferson. Utah usually tries to play a more physical game for the Spurs. San Antonio can't get caught up in one of those games with the injuries they have in their small forward positions right now. The majority of their players (the bench mainly) are more finesse players who prefer to shoot jumpers than post up or bang in the paint. For either team to win, both men in this matchup have to dictate the style for their respective teams.
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