The UTAH and the PORTLAND will both be gunning for a victory on 4/8/2017 at 10:05 PM when they meet in a game matchup.
UTAH vs PORTLAND
When: 10:00 PM ET, Saturday, April 8, 2017
Where: Moda Center, Portland, Oregon
|713||UTAH||1.5 (-110)||203 (-110)||-120
TV: 10 p.m. ET, ROOT (Utah), KGW (Portland)
PREDICTION: Trail Blazers 107, Jazz 103
Oddsmakers currently have the PORTLAND listed as 1.5 point favorites versus the UTAH, while the game’s total is sitting at 203.
PORTLAND, Ore. — The Utah Jazz are walking a fine line in the final week of the regular season.
The Jazz are shooting for the No. 4 playoff spot in the Western Conference and first-round homecourt advantage, all the while mindful of getting players back healthy for the postseason.
Coach Quin Snyder will have some decisions to make when the Jazz (49-30) visit Moda Center to face the Portland Trail Blazers Saturday night.
Utah is a game ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers (48-31) in the battle for the West’s fourth seed after the Jazz defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 120-113 Friday night at Vivint Arena.
Shooting guard Rodney Hood (knee) and power forward Derrick Favors (knee) returned to duty against the Timberwolves. Hood had missed just one game, Favors the previous 14.
Favors had an impressive performance against Minnesota, scoring 13 points on 6-for-9 shooting with five rebounds in 17 minutes off the bench. Hood contributed six points and three rebounds in 21 reserve minutes.
Point guards George Hill and Raul Neto have both been out of action for the past five games with groin injuries. The loss of Hill, the starter, has made things more difficult for the Jazz. Hill averages 16.9 points, 4.1 assists and 3.5 rebounds.
“We wouldn’t be where we are without him,” Jazz small forward Gordon Hayward said. “His game play, his leadership on and off the court has been huge for us. He’s been integral for our success.”
Snyder wasn’t indicating how much he will use any of his players dealing with injuries Saturday night in the second of back-to-back games.
“Guys want to be able to play in the postseason and want to get out there a little bit and tune up,” Snyder said. “But we have to be careful. I’d rather have a healthy player than a player who’s not healthy that has played a little bit to be in a groove. There’s a balance there.
“The best thing for us is, the guys who are available play. And the guys who aren’t work their tails off to get back.”
The Jazz have put their best five on the floor to start a game just 13 times this season. Of course, victories are now at a premium, with the fourth seed and homecourt advantage on the line.
“It would be great to play at home, especially since for a lot of us, it’s our first time in the playoffs,” Hood said. “But it’s about being healthy. I’d take that over homecourt any day. It doesn’t matter if you play at home if you’re not 100 percent.”
Portland (39-40) is dealing with its own injury issues. Center Jusuf Nurkic is out and will miss the final seven games of the regular season with a non-displaced fracture of his right leg. In his absence, the Blazers have gone 2-2 as they try to secure the eighth and final playoff spot in the West. Denver (38-41) is a game behind eighth-place Portland with three to play, but the Blazers hold the tie-breaker.
“We’re in control (of the No. 8 spot),” point guard Damian Lillard said. “We just need to keep winning. And once we get to the playoffs, hopefully we’ll have Nurk back with us.”
In four games in Nurkic’s absence, Lillard has averaged 23.5 points but has shot poorly — 33.3 percent from the field and 26.3 percent from 3-point range.
STATS AND RECORDS
|4/4/17||POR 87||UTA 106||106||47||53.4||87||28||39.8|