Utah (47-29) at San Antonio (58-17)
When: Sunday, April 2nd 2017
Where: AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
Time: 3:35 ET | TV: ABC
The Utah Jazz will look to keep a hold of the fourth-seed in the Western Conference as they visit the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday afternoon on ABC. Utah has won three in a row and have a one game lead over the Los Angeles Clippers for that coveted fourth spot and homecourt advantage in the first round of the upcoming playoffs against whoever the fifth seed is. Sunday’s road contest is a big test for the Jazz, who have lost five of its last seven away from home, with one of the victories coming against the lowly Sacramento Kings. The current three-game winning streak began after star center Rudy Gobert (league-high 196 blocked shots) sharply criticized the squad’s shaky play and most of the players accepted the message since it was coming from a guy battling San Antonio All-Star Kawhi Leonard and Golden State All-Star Draymond Green for NBA Defensive Player of the Year honors. Gobert, who averages 13.9 points a game, has scored above that in six straight games including three 20+ performances. His 66.0% shooting from the field is second in the league to the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan. Point guard George Hill (groin) will likely miss his third straight game.
The Spurs are running out of time to catch the Golden State Warriors for the top seed in the West as they trail them by 3.5 games with just six to play. San Antonio is clearly locked into the No. 2 slot for the postseason, but would love to finish with some momentum and 100% health. The Spurs weren’t able to make up ground despite winning six of seven games including a huge 21-point third-quarter comeback to post a 100-95 road victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night. Head coach Gregg Popovich didn’t clear the bench and rest the starters when trailing by 21 with 18 minutes remaining as he sometimes has done in the past. Power forward LaMarcus Aldridge is just 16-of-39 shooting while averaging 15 points over the past three games and is expected to miss Sunday’s contest with a thumb injury. The Spurs have won five of the past six meetings but the teams have split their two games this season. San Antonio will play Utah again on the last night of the regular season in Salt Lake City.
The Spurs are really just playing out the stretch and trying to stay healthy. Utah is playing for an important fourth seed and will keep this game close. Take the points.
Pick: Jazz +5.5
HEAD TO HEAD