NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, December 3rd
(All times eastern)
Los Angeles Clippers (10-4) at Utah Jazz (9-9), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Utah Jazz put their perfect home record on the line
Monday night when they welcome the Los Angeles Clippers to EnergySolutions
The Jazz may be 6-0 at home, but they are in the midst of a two-game losing
streak. They fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night and went to
Houston and lost on Saturday to fall to .500 for the season.
The reason for Utah's latest swoon is simple - defense. In this two-game
slide, the Jazz surrendered an average of 115.0 ppg.
"Usually, (defense) is something that all of us from top to bottom take pride
in ... and lately we haven't been getting stops," said Jazz guard Randy Foye.
"You can't look at different numbers and plays from the game and say, 'If we
would've got this, or if we would've did that.' Top to bottom, we're not
getting the job done on defense."
The Rockets had seven players in double-figures and shot 55.4 percent from the
field and 50 percent from the 3-point line.
The Jazz are battling injury problems, but that's no excuse for the porous
defense. Marvin Williams has missed the last two games with concussion
symptoms and Derrick Favors played only nine minutes against the Thunder
before he injured his foot. Both players availability is questionable for the
Los Angeles will see a familiar face in Utah. Jazz starting point guard Mo
Williams played a key reserve role for the Clippers last season, but the Clips
haven't appeared to miss him.
L.A. has one of the deepest rosters in the NBA and the squad received a big
boost when Chauncey Billups returned to the lineup on Wednesday after an
Achilles tear in February.
Billups hasn't played 20 minutes in his two games back and he's only scored 13
total points, but the Clippers have won both games he's been in uniform.
After a four-game losing streak that saw the Clips allow over 100 points in
three of them, Los Angeles tightened things up in the last two. They allowed
88 ppg in home wins against the Minnesota Timberwolves and Sacramento Kings.
Against the Kings, the vaunted Clippers bench was outstanding. Three bench
players, Jamal Crawford, Eric Bledsoe and Matt Barnes, all scored in double-
digits and the reserves combined for 58 points.
"They are just solid," said guard Chris Paul. "We've been talking about it all
season; guys who know who they are. Matt Barnes, Ronny Turiaf, they know who
they are. They are going to play hard, play the right way and not do anything
to hurt us. They are good teammates and guys that you need on your team if you
are going to try to win a championship."
The Clippers may have won the last two in this series, but they are an amazing
2-42 in their last 44 in Utah.
12/03 10:42:35 ET