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Nets try to bounce back against the Jazz

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"Mentally been many places, but I'm Pawnee's own"
"Mentally been many places, but I'm Pawnee's own"
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

It's never fun to lose. However, it's another thing entirely to get embarrassed on national television. The Brooklyn Nets rolled into Los Angeles Thursday night to play the Clippers on TNT. Unfortunately for them, they got demolished by a score of 123-84. There were points in the third quarter where it looked as if they were going to lose by 50 points, but they managed to lose by "only" 39 points. Due to the Charlotte Hornets loss on Friday night, the Nets are still in the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.

The opponent this Saturday evening will be the Utah Jazz. They find themselves on the outside looking in of a jam packed Western Conference playoff picture, but did win their last game on the road against Milwaukee on Thursday night.

Where to follow the game

YES Network has got you covered on television and WFAN 101.9 is on the radio side. Tip off is scheduled for a bit after 9 PM.

Injuries

Deron Williams is still out with the rib injury. Mirza Teletovic left Thursday's game due to shortness of breath, and doctors later learned that he had multiple blood clots in his lungs. Mirza's season is over, but this could have had a much more tragic ending if it wasn't detected.

This isn't an injury, but Derrick Favors missed the last game due to personal reasons and his status for this contest is unknown as of this writing. Alec Burks is out for the season and Rodney Hood won't be back until next month at the earliest.

The game

What's the story? Let's get it:

2014-2015 Season

Brooklyn Utah

Record

18-25 15-28

Pace

94.33 92.86

Offensive Efficiency

99.6 102.8

Defensive Efficiency

103.5 106.8

Turnover Rate

15.2 16.6

Assist Rate

16.3 16.3

Offensive Rebounding Rate

22.9 28.5

Rebounding Rate

48.9 51.9

Free Throw Rate

27.3 29.4

Effective Field Goal Percentage

48.6 49.5

Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage

49.9 51

In trade stuff, the Nuggets might be interested in Brook Lopez. The trade deadline is still a long time from now but our friends at Denver Stiffs took a look at this rumored trade.

Speaking of Lopez, he's going to have a tough time against Rudy Gobert. Gobert has been a sensation for the Jazz and has been one of the league's very best rim protectors. On seven shots a night at the rim, teams are only shooting 37.3 percent while Gobert is in the area. Lopez is most effective when he's near the basket but due to Gobert, he might be forced into taking more jumpers. As it so happens, Brook has spent more time than usual away from the rim so he should be able to adjust accordingly. Over at SLC Dunk, AllthatAmar tells us what makes Gobert so impressive:

If someone scored it was a personal attack, even if that player scored on someone else. If someone got it up and over Rudy, it was a blood feud. This is something that has carried over since that pre-draft evaluation where he played on one foot, it’s really something that he is as a basketball player. A competitor. An athlete. A stand out talent that only the best teams were lucky to have.

We also get a chance to see one of the lottery picks from the last draft. Dante Exum was drafted fifth overall in the 2014 Draft, but as you would expect from a rookie, it's taken some time for him to get adjusted to the tougher competition. Exum was named the starting point guard over Trey Burke on Thursday and will be given the opportunity to develop at an accelerated pace. Most of his attempts have come from three point range, but he is only shooting 31.7 percent from downtown. He's also a bit turnover prone (18.7 percent of the time) and that should work in Jarrett Jack's favor.

Player to watch: Gordon Hayward

Hayward signed an offer sheet with the Hornets back in the summer, but the Jazz quickly matched it and Hayward returned to Utah. He's managed to have the best season of his career even as he's had to take on more responsibility on offense. He's averaging career highs in minutes per game and usage rate and it's led to him averaging a career best 19 points per game. He's always been a good three point shooter, and after a down 2013-2014 from deep, he's back to shooting 38 percent from downtown. In another year, he might have had an outside chance of making the All Star team. But there have been so many great performances from players on winning teams that he won't come anywhere near the team. Maybe next year.

On the other side stands Joe Johnson. After the LA Massacre, he said the team lacked an identity. It's an indictment of the entire team, but as one of the leaders of the team and someone who needed to pick his game up with Williams out, it's a bigger reflection on him. He's been a disaster this month and outside of a few bright moments hasn't been able to help get the Nets back on track. He's only shot 36 percent in 12 games this month and has not gotten to the foul line at all. It's been a disappointing season for Brooklyn, and Johnson's poor play stands out in particular.

From the Vault

There was a time when Shaq and Kobe couldn't beat the Utah Jazz when it counted most.

More reading: SLC Dunk