Utah Jazz need win over Brooklyn Nets

Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

One more night on the road before heading back to New York

The Jazz and Nets will face off Saturday night with Utah having a lot more at stake than Brooklyn. With their win over Portland Friday, the Jazz crept back into eighth place in the West, tied with the Lakers but holding the tiebreaker over L.A. They're also only a game and a half ahead of surging Dallas. Brooklyn is now three and half games behind the Knicks for the division title with 10 games to go, a long way this late in the season.

"if we win the next one, it will still be a good trip," said Deron Williams, who will be returning to Salt Lake City for the second time since the 2011 trade that brought him to the Nets. "Not as good as we wanted it to be, not as good as it could have been."

The Nets are now 4-2 on the eight game "circus trip." After the game, the Nets fly back to New York for two days, then it's on the road again to Cleveland for a Wednesday game vs. the Cavaliers. They return to Barclays Center the next night vs. the Bulls. No word on Joe Johnson's availability, but it seems unlikely he'll suit up.

The Jazz got a monster second half performance from Mo Williams who scored 26 of his 28 points after halftime. Derrick Favors, the ex-Net, finished with a double-double, 13 points and 10 rebounds coming off the bench. "Everybody came out focused, especially in the second half. We didn't do a good job in the first but in the second half we came out with a different attitude," Paul Millsap said.

The Jazz has been inconsistent all season. They've won three straight after losing four straight. They've never won more than four straight nor lost more than four straight during the season. Their coach, Ty Corbin, has also been criticized for his rotations and late game moves. Statistically, they're middlin', being 13th in the NBA in points, rebounds and assists. They're also 13th in free throw percentage. They start slow, 26th in first quarter scoring, improving in each quarter.

Favors, in his third year in Utah, still doesn't start, playing behind Al Jefferson and Millsap. The other prize in the Deron Williams trade, first round pick Enes Kanter, is out with a dislocated left shoulder. The Jazz still have one more asset from the 2011 trade: the Warriors first round pick in this year's draft.

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