NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, February 14th (All times eastern)
Utah Jazz (14-13) at Oklahoma City Thunder (21-6), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Utah just might be a sitting duck when it finishes a grueling three games in three nights road stretch tonight in Oklahoma City.
The Jazz lost to the Thunder, 101-87, in Salt Lake City last Friday and has played two games since, a 98-88 win in Memphis on Sunday and an embarrassing 86-80 setback to the lowly Hornets in New Orleans on Monday.
Al Jefferson had a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds vs. New Orleans while Derrick Favors also scored 14 for the Jazz, who have lost six of their last eight games overall and fell to a Hornets team that had dropped eight straight and 23 of 25.
Utah coach Tyrone Corbin benched Jefferson and fellow starters Devin Harris, Raja Bell and Paul Millsap for the entire fourth quarter.
"It's absolutely [disappointing]," Corbin said. "It's everything I thought it wouldn't be, it happened tonight. We thought we could just show up and win the ballgame."
"I thought we came out and played pretty well early. Surprisingly, it fell apart on us," Bell added.
The Thunder, meanwhile, have been resting since topping the Jazz last week behind All-Star Russell Westbrook's game-high 28 points.
Fellow All-Star Kevin Durant added 19 points and Serge Ibaka contributed a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds as the Western Conference-leading Thunder won three of their last four games to wrap up a five-game road trip with a 3-2 record.
"We have always been a good bounce-back team after a loss," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks, who earned the right to coach the Western Conference at the All-Star Game later this month with the win. "Tonight was a good indication of how we play. We didn't have a lot of things going for us early. We were turning the ball over, but we fought, we stuck together and we competed."
OKC has won six straight on its home floor and is a stellar 9-1 at Chesapeake Energy Arena this season while Utah fell to 3-8 on the road with last's night setback in NOLA. The Thunder haven't started 10-1 at home since they were the Seattle SuperSonics back in 2004-05.
"It's just good to be home in our own house, our own city," Brooks told the Thunder's website. "We're going to be home for a while. That doesn't guarantee victories. We still have to work on a lot of the things that we need to improve and play with good energy, but it's nice to be in front of our home crowd for a while."
Oklahoma City, which plays six of its next seven at home, has won four consecutive games over the Jazz overall.
02/14 10:45:54 ET