Thursday, January 28

Scuffling Jazz aim to rally against Clippers


The Utah Jazz face a tough task Friday night in Salt Lake City as they seek their first home win of the season as they take on the Los Angeles Clippers.

While the Clippers were the butt of a lot of jokes in the sports world after losing by 51 points to the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday, they have come back with consecutive 23-point wins at home over the Minnesota Timberwolves (124-101 Tuesday) and the Portland. Trail Blazers (128-105 Wednesday).

Worse news for Utah, who lost 106-95 to the Phoenix Suns on New Year’s Eve after winning a road point over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday: Kathy Leonard is back for the Clippers.

Leonard led Los Angeles past the Trail Blazers with 28 points after missing the collapse against the Mavericks and the game against the Timberwolves due to a mouth laceration that required eight points. He wore a protective face mask at the Portland game.

The Clippers have more guns than Leonard, of course. Paul George has led the team in scoring three times so far and had 23 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists to support Leonard against Portland. Five Los Angeles players average double-digit scores, and four others have between seven and eight points each in each outing.

” The guys are playing tough, we’re stuck,” said Lou Williams, who scored 15 in the Clippers’ most recent win. ” We know we have a lot of guys who are capable. We are playing with confidence.”

Jazz has a lot of capable guys too, but not all of them are clicking. Utah has struggled since opening the season with a 20-point victory at Portland, losing two of the last three games.

Utah, which typically boasts one of the best home court advantages in the NBA, has lost its only two games in Salt Lake City and won both of its road games.

” I think the way I would characterize it is that we’ve had failures, either on offense, if we’re not spaced apart. (And) defensively we’re helping too much,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. ” There are a number of situations where we need to collectively improve.”

Donovan Mitchell leads Utah with an average of 21 points per game, but he has yet to consistently play at an All-Star level this season. The Jazz could really have used Bojan Bogdanovic’s shots against Phoenix, but the forward scored just three points, missing all five of his shots from the field.

” We just have to be better,” Snyder said. ” We played very well against Portland, the best we can play, and we haven’t played well since. For us, there are certain things that we know we have to do to be successful, and we have to do them. If we don’t build on our strengths, it will be. difficult for us. “

Friday’s contest will be Utah’s last chance to win at home in a while. After the game, the Jazz embark on a seven-game road trip that begins Sunday in San Antonio.

Utah won two of its three meetings with the Clippers in the shortened 2019-20 season. The Clippers have lost five straight games in Salt Lake City, since 2017.

The Jazz come into this matchup with a healthy roster, while the Clippers remain without Marcus Morris Sr., who is dealing with knee pain.

–Field level media



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