nba
02.04.2024

Cleveland Cavaliers @ Utah Jazz Game Preview and Pick: Garland Bounces Back in UT

With less than ten games left in the regular season, now is not the time for playoff teams to start losing their momentum. Unfortunately for the Cavaliers faithful, that seems to be the case at the moment, as they are fresh off a blowout loss that dropped them to 4-6 over their last ten games. Luckily for Cleveland, they will be in Utah tonight to play a struggling Jazz team, so certain players like Darius Garland will have an ideal matchup to help them get back on track.

Game Preview

In a few short weeks, some NBA teams will start their second season, while others will continue the next phases of their rebuild. For Utah, the latter applies to them, as they are 29-46 overall, and after a 20-point loss to Sacramento, they have now lost nine consecutive games.

It, of course, doesn’t help that Utah has three of their four leading scorers on the injury report. While this does allow their young pieces to get valuable NBA experience, it has also led to Utah ranking 26th in point differential over the past two weeks, per Cleaning the Glass.

Not being able to find consistent offense with a depleted roster is one thing, but Utah’s biggest problem this season, especially recently, has been their defense. After allowing the Kings to score 127 points on 54% shooting from the field and 50% from three, the Jazz now rank 27th in points allowed per 100 possessions in non-garbage time over the past two weeks (122.6), per Cleaning the Glass.

For the Cavs, that stat should bring a sigh of relief heading into tonight after scoring 101 points in their 29-point loss to Denver over the weekend. Offense has never truly been a strength of this Cavs team, but over the past two weeks, their numbers have only worsened, as they now rank 21st in points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time in that span (111.2)(Cleaning the Glass).

To make matters worse for the Cavs, their defense, which has been their calling card this season, has also looked out of sorts heading down the home stretch. By allowing the Nuggets to shoot 57% from the field and 64% from three, Cleveland ranks 24th in opponent three-point percentage and 22nd in field goal percentage over the past ten games.

Pick for the Game

If Cleveland is going to flip a switch and start trending in the right direction before the postseason, they will need Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland to get back on track offensively. Garland blended into the background a lot against Denver, as he only attempted one three and eight field goal attempts. With the Jazz defense in front of him tonight, I think he can use the matchup to get back on track. With that, I’ll be backing him to go over 21.5 points+assists, which is priced at (-125) on BetMGM Sportsbook.

Even though his scoring numbers have decreased recently, Garland has still exceeded tonight’s total in ten of his last fifteen games. Shooting-wise, Garland has been a bit inconsistent, but he has made up for that by setting up his teammates and averaging 7.9 assists per game over his last ten games.

With his assist total climbing, Garland could be heading for double-digit assists tonight since Utah ranks 29th in the league in assists allowed per game over the last ten games (30.7). When it comes to shooting, Garland is still averaging 14.2 field goal attempts per game over his last ten, so with Utah ranked 23rd in opponent field goal percentage in that span; it’s hard to imagine he struggles for a second straight game.

Recap

  • Darius Garland Over 21.5 Points+Assists (-125) on BetMGM

*odds subject to change

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