The Denver Nuggets (8-6) will look for their fifth-straight victory tonight against the Utah Jazz (7-7), who are currently undefeated at home. Utah is coming off a disappointing loss in Sacramento on Saturday while Denver blew out New Orleans on Sunday. Denver beat Utah 104-84 on November 9.
Can Utah remain undefeated at home? AccuScore projections seem to think so. After 10,000 simulations, in which Utah won 52.7 percent of the time, the average score was 99.9-99.7 in favor of the Jazz. Utah is favored by 3.5 points, and the simulations suggest taking Denver and the points (successful in 57.2 percent of the simulations).
The total for the game is set at 200, and the simulations have it going UNDER that total 56.3 percent of the time. Note: The total has gone OVER in 4 of Denver’s last 5 games on the road. Both teams have similar probabilities at getting a close or big win, indicating that we’ll get an extremely close contest tonight.
It would seem as if the team playing a back-to-back (Denver), with the second game being on the road, would have a big disadvantage tonight. In last night’s game, however, no one played more than 31 minutes for the Nuggets. Andre Iguodala, who is averaging 23.3 points per game in his last three contests, is projected to get 13 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists tonight.
Ty Lawson, who scored 17 points last night against the Hornets, is projected to get 17 points and 8 assists. With Tinsley at the point for the Jazz, I wouldn’t be surprised if Lawson had a huge night. Tinsley has been averaging 10 assists over his last three games, but guarding a guy like Lawson is a whole different story. Lawson is coming off back-to-back 18 and 9 games. Tinsley is projected to get 6 points and 8 assists.
The Jazz have quite the presence in the paint with guys like Al Jefferson, Derrick Favors, and Paul Millsap; it just might take a three-headed monster like that to negate the Manimal’s impact on a game. Kenneth Faried had 14 points, 12 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 2 steals in 24 minutes against the Hornets last night; he is projected to get 14 points, 10 rebounds, 1 block, 1 steal tonight. 4 of those rebounds are projected to be on the offensive end.
Faried’s level of activity makes it that much more important that Utah’s big men rebound the ball consistently and limit second chance opportunities for the Nuggets. Al Jefferson is projected to get 18 points, 9 rebounds, and 1-2 blocks. Paul Millsap is projected to get 16 points, 7-8 rebounds, and a block. Derrick Favors is projected to get 12 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks.
Here are some other projections for individual players: Gallinari (16 points, 5 rebounds); McGee (11 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks); Miller (8 points, 4 assists); Hayward (13 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists); Foye (12 points, 2 3PM); Williams (11 ponts, 5 rebounds)
Denver gives up nearly 102 points on the road, and we all know how consistent Utah is at home. I’m taking the Jazz, 101-95.