- Brooklyn Nets will be without Kevin Durant Tuesday night against the Utah Jazz
- The Jazz are undefeated (3-0) on the road to start the season
- Check the odds, analysis and our betting prediction below
It’s way too early to be hitting the panic button for the Brooklyn Nets, who, after starting the year 2-0, have dropped four of their last five contests.
But there are some things that clearly need to be cleaned up as they welcome in the surging Utah Jazz to Barclays Center.
They’ll also be having to do it without Kevin Durant. The NBA’s fifth-leading scorer was scheduled for a rest day, but will now reportedly have to quarantine seven days due to COVID exposure. This will be the first of four games KD will likely miss, making Utah a 2-point road favorite on Tuesday night.
Jazz vs Nets Odds
|Utah Jazz||-2 (-110)||-126||Ov 228.5 (-110)|
|Brooklyn Nets||+2 (-110)||+108||Un 228.5 (-110)|
Odds from FanDuel taken January 4. Tip-off is Tuesday at 7:30pm ET
The Jazz will try to extend to four wins in their last five games, and improve to a perfect 4-0 on the road this season.
Brooklyn’s Paint Struggles
Scoring hasn’t been an issue in Brooklyn, as one should expect with a Kevin Durant-Kyrie Irving tandem, with an offensively gifted mind in Steve Nash as the head coach. The Nets are putting up 118 points a game, which ranks fourth in the league, while shooting a brisk 38.4% from three-point range, which ranks sixth.
John Collins had 20 points tonight vs the Nets pic.twitter.com/y1cjL0P7Kk
— Highlight Bubble (@highlightbubble) January 2, 2021
So why the recent struggles? Minus an 18-point blowout to the Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn has lost their other three games by a combined eight points. Their problems are inside the paint. Their one-point loss to the Wizards saw Brooklyn surrender 13 offensive rebounds.
The Nets are getting cleaned on the glass, giving up an NBA-worst 14.6 offensive rebounds a contest — no other team is at more than 12.5. Brooklyn is hoisting up just over 88 field goal attempts per game, but their opponents are averaging an NBA-best 98.1 attempts. In close games, those extra possessions add up.
Beal (27 PTS & 10 REB) and Westbrook (24 PTS & 10 AST) led Washington to a win against the Nets! 💥 pic.twitter.com/IxnH8gyswK
— NBA TV (@NBATV) January 4, 2021
Brooklyn is 26th in the league allowing 51.4 points in the paint, and also dead last in second-chance points allowed at 20.3 a game (no other team is allowing more than 16.2).
That weakness could get amplified by the Jazz. They rank fourth in the league in second-chance points and tied for fourth with 11.8 offensive rebounds a game.
Jazz Healthy And Solid
They aren’t anyone’s top pick, but the Utah Jazz are business.
What a difference a year makes for Mike Conley. After a disastrous debut year in Utah a season ago, the COVID layoff allowed him to get back to decent form in the bubble, and he’s been his usual self in Year 2. He leads the team in scoring at 20.3 points a game, to go along with 5.4 assists and 4.3 rebounds, while shooting a scorching 48.5% from three-point range.
33 points. 7 threes. Mike Conley off the Spida feed. 🎯 pic.twitter.com/mc2U8OdRRl
— NBA (@NBA) January 2, 2021
Rudy Gobert has started strong as well, averaging 14.5 points, 13.7 rebounds (2nd in NBA) and 2.2 blocks (4th), while the return by Bojan Bogdanovic from a wrist injury makes the offense whole, injecting the additional ballhandling and shooting the Jazz sorely missed in the bubble during the playoffs. He’s averaging 14 points while shooting 40% from three.
— utahjazz (@utahjazz) January 2, 2021
Utah’s middle-of-the-pack offense is supplemented by a sturdy defense that holds opponents to 43.4% shooting from the field — the sixth best mark in the NBA — and allows just over 106 points per game, which ranks eighth in the league.
This is all being done despite Donovan Mitchell still trying to find his all-world form. He’s second in team scoring at 20.2 points a game, but he’s shooting a woeful 37.1% from the field and a below-average 33.9% from three-point range.
What’s The Best Bet?
Durant out of the lineup simply means Brooklyn will not be able to outscore their shortcomings, and they’ll need to put together a solid game plan based on getting after it under their own basket first. Still adjusting to life without Spencer Dinwiddie, that’s a lot of points and playmaking to come up with against a Jazz team expected to hold steady in the ultra-competitive West.
Brookyln should eventually clean up their problems and rise to a top seed in the East, but this is a mad scientist stretch for Nash. While winning would be ideal, he’s got to find the right combination’s to figure out around KD and Kyrie. that’s going to take some time. And more lumps.
The pick: Jazz -2 (-110)
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