Detroit Pistons vs. Utah Jazz NBA Prediction from Larry Ness: January 13th 2017
Detroit Pistons vs. Utah Jazz
NBA Prediction: Utah -8.5 (January 13th 2017)
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The 24-16 Utah Jazz are tied with OKC atop the Northwest Division and the team’s most recent win, 100-92 at home vs the defending champion Cavs, signaled this team’s rising status in the Western Conference.The Jazz host the 18-23 Detroit Pistons Friday night (late game in the ESPN doubleheader), who come in having lost 10 of their last 14 games overall.
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Detroit will be playing its fourth contest of a five-game road trip with last night’s 127-107 loss to the Warriors leaving them 1-2 on the trip, after opening with a one-point win at Portland. I guess one could say they are lucky to not be 0-3. The Pistons rank 5th on the season in points allowed (100.9 per game) but have struggled to slow opponents since enduring a five-game losing skid in mid-December. In the team’s 3-3 start to January, they are allowing 117.2 PPG (note: one game was a double-OT contest).
Defense has been Utah’s strength all season, as the Jazz rank first in both points allowed (94.9 PPG) and opponents’ FG percentage (36.9%) plus while the Jazz are near the bottom in points scored (98.4 PPG ranks 28th), the team shoots well (46.3% overall, including 36.9% on threes, both of which rank 8th). Six players scored in double figures for Utah in the win over the Cavs, including all five starters. Gordon Hayward led the way with one of his best performances of the season (28 points on 10-of-12 shooting). “When he is playing like that, he is a real leader, and that’s what we need,” Utah center Rudy Gobert said. Hayward and Gobert both continue to make strong cases for All-Star consideration. Hayward is averaging a career-best 22.2 points per game this season on 45.9 percent shooting (adds 5.9 RPG and 3.5 APG). Gobert is imposing on the defensive end and has 10-plus rebounds in 25 straight games and has notched 27 double-doubles this season. Gobert is also averaging career highs in points (12.3 per game), rebounds (12.3) and blocks (2.5).
The Pistons have covered their last three visits to Salt Lake City, including winning SU last season. In fact, Detroit sweep the season series last year but did so in averaging only 93.5 PPG. That won’t cut it here. The Jazz are more efficient with PG with George Hill returning to the lineup and he’s been back the last three games (Hill averages 18.2 PPG and 4.4 APG in the 12 games he’s played TY). This marks Detroit’s FOURTH game in seven nights and expect them to lose again here. Lay the points.