Game #17 Preview: Two Teams Playing Really Well Clash in Salt Lake

Indiana Pacers @ Utah Jazz
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
9:00 pm EST
EnergySolutions Arena
Salt Lake City, Utah

If you want to beat the Jazz, it seems like the best thing to do is not take a double-digit lead during the game. From November 6-13, Utah won five straight games in which they trailed by more than 10, coming back to defeat the Clippers, Heat, Magic, Hawks and Bobcats.

It was pretty insane.

And they haven’t slowed down since. After dropping two of their next three games, they have since won six in a row, including wins over Western Conference heavyweights New Orleans and Los Angeles (you know of which one I speak). If the Pacers recent success has made the league stand up and take note of them as perhaps the most overlooked good team in the preseason, the Jazz’s winning ways have made people begin to think of them as the most underrated title contender.

Deron Williams is the main reason. Averaging 22 pts and 10 assists per game, he — as he has done for years — makes the offense work. He lost long-time running mate Carlos Boozer to the Bulls in the offseason, but no matter; Paul Millsap has stepped in seamlessly, Al Jefferson brings even more scoring to the frontcourt and Andrei Kirilenko fills in the cracks, mainly providing versatile defense at any number of positions but also helping out with some scoring or shooting if need be.

All in all, this is going to be a tough game for Indy to win. It’s a back-to-back on the road in a tough building to play against a very good team. Still, fans should be less concerned with the final score than how the team plays. If they can just go out there and execute, not letting themselves get dominated by a better squad, that will be encouraging.

Then again, beating Utah tonight and then finishing off Phoenix on Friday to go 4-0 on this West Coast swing would be pretty nice today

Pacers vs Jazz By the Numbers

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