In Salt Lake City tonight, the Utah Jazz are set to take on the New York Knicks in an cross country showdown. The Knicks come in having lost eight of their ten last games and will look to avoid pushing their losing streak to three in this contest. New York owns a record of 24-29 and are 11-14 on the road away from Madison Square Garden. As for Utah, they also come in reeling at the moment, having lost seven of their last ten games but have won two straight. They have a record of 32-21 and are 17-10 at home this season. For the Jazz, they got guard Donovan Mitchell back recently and it has resulted in the team winning once again. However, they will be without their other All-Star in center Rudy Gobert, whom is out with injury and forward Joe Ingles, who the team lost for the season. This will be the first time that these two teams meet this season, with the second game scheduled in March.
How New York can win: New York comes into this game after a tough loss last time out where they blew a 20 plus point lead to the Lakers, so they’ll likely want to right the ship on their road trip. They’ll be without guard Derrick Rose so others will need to continue to step up. Forward RJ Barrett had 36 points and 8 rebounds in their last game, so he’ll need to continue his scoring if New York wants to beat Utah. Especially against a Jazz team without Gobert, the Knicks should look to attack the painted area and get easy shot attempts. Julius Randle added 32 points of his own last game and this duo should look to keep up their high scoring marks. Utah is much better defensively than the Lakers are but without their anchor in Gobert, the driving lanes may be more open.
The Knicks are the seventh overall team in the league in offensive rebounding rate at 28.7 percent and number four in the league at second-chance point scoring at 14.4 a game. Without Gobert, the Knicks need to win the rebounding battle if they want to win this game. On defense, the Knicks hold opponents to 109.4 points per 100 possessions and will need to always try and limit Donovan Mitchell on the court. If they can take away Mitchell even a little bit or make life tough for him, the Knicks would have a good chance at stealing this game on the road.
How Utah can win: Without Gobert, the Jazz will need to rely on Donovan Mitchell to take on more of the scoring load for them and he clearly is up for the challenge. Mitchell is averaging 25.5 points and 5.2 assists per game while shooting 45.5 percent from the field and 34.8 from three-point land. He has the ability to drive to the basket, score from the perimeter, and excel in isolation situations which had allowed him to become of the better players across the league. He can put pressure on a defense to overcommit to him which opens up other scoring chances for his teammates. In a game like this, point guard Mike Conley could be huge for Utah due to his shooting and driving ability. Conley is averaging 14.3 points and 5.2 assists per game but will likely be leaned up more with other Utah players missing time due to injury.
Utah comes into this game number one in scoring offense with 113.6 points per game and are eighth in rebounding, pulling down 45.8 boards a night. They allow 107.6 points per game on defense and will need to slow down Barrett and Randle in this matchup.
The Spread Via FanDuel:
Moneyline: NYK: (+290) | UTAH: (-360)
Spread: NYK: +8.5 (-112) | UTAH: -8.5 (-108)
Final Prediction: Utah Jazz 114 New York Knicks 106
-Even without Gobert, the Jazz are good enough to take down the Knicks. New York has been extremely inconsistent this season and aren’t a very good road team. Utah on the other hand plays much better in the friendly confines of Salt Lake City, so I’ll take Mitchell and the Jazz to get another win at home.