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Nets head to Utah to face the Jazz

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Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

That's one. The circus is occupying the Barclays Center, and the Nets get to take a trip across the country. The Nets went to Phoenix and played a Suns team that has been in disarray all year. Brooklyn extended Phoenix's losing streak to 13 games and came away with a 116-106 victory. Brooklyn made a major change before the game, and we'll get to it in a bit.

The third opponent on this trip will be the Utah Jazz. They've been having a nice season and are tied with the Houston Rockets for eighth place in the Western Conference standings (Houston does lead the season series 2-1 with the final meeting taking place March 23 in Houston). Their last game was a 96-78 loss at home to the Spurs. After this game ends, they'll be hitting the road for a four game road trip that will take them to Boston, Toronto, Memphis, and New Orleans.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV, WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip off is at 9:30, but since it's Saturday night, the late start won't be too much of a hassle.

Injuries

Nothing new for Brooklyn.

Alec Burks suffered a fractured left fibula in late December and has been out of action since. The team hopes to have him back soon. Dante Exum is still out for the season.

The game

Let's get down to business

2015-2016

Brooklyn

Utah

Record

16-42 28-29

Pace

96.84 93.16

Offensive Efficiency

99.9 103.4

Defensive Efficiency

106.6 102.7

Turnover Rate

15.4 15.7

Assist Rate

16.8 14.9

Offensive Rebounding Rate

23.7 26.1

Rebound Rate

49.6 51.4

Free Throw Rate

23.8 30

Effective Field Goal Percentage

48.8 49.9

Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage

52.5 49.6

The Jazz won the first meeting in January.

A few hours before the game, the Nets announced that they waived Joe Johnson. Johnson had a good three and a half year run with the team and will be joining the Miami Heat. Johnson had a good tenure with the team and Reed Wallach took a look back at it here.

Now that Johnson is gone, Markel Brown and Bojan Bogdanovic will have even more of an opportunity to earn prominent roles on the team going forward. The two of them had good games on Thursday and have played well under Tony Brown. When Rondae Hollis-Jefferson returns, the Nets will look to divvy up minutes between those three players. The Nets focus from this point on will be on player development so they'll have plenty of time

Not having Exum put a crimp on their plans, but the Jazz are still are still a team to keep a close eye on. AllthatAmar of SLC Dunk has more:

They are just really hard to see right now because of injuries. As a consequence, the lack of depth is apparent -- but that would be the case for every other team in the league if they were missing four of their top six rotation players and forced to start two rookies for close to two full months. No one knows how good this constructed team is, and as a result, their talent, potential, ability, and capability are the NBA's best kept secret. This is a team that's building, in secret, something that will end the war, and end all wars. Because of injuries Lindsey's team is like a nuclear submarine. Such a vessel is a pretty crappy sailing ship. And there aren't a lot of cannons on the side of it to launch starboard passing strikes. But what this team can do -- when fully operational -- is going to blow people away.

One of the players that has helped the Jazz compete for a playoff spot is Gordon Hayward. He's their leading scorer, a borderline All Star player, and someone you can count on to deliver late in games.

He had a good game against the Nets the first time around, so Brown might see some more minutes in an attempt to hassle Hayward.

The center matchup ought to be fun. Rudy Gobert is one of the best defensive big men in the league. He's second in blocks, tenth in rebounding, and is the anchor of Utah's defense. He gets dunked on sometimes, but you want your big man willing and able to contest every shot that comes his way. On the other side will be Brook Lopez. Lopez had his first bad game in a while, but it didn't matter much. He only played 28 minutes on Thursday so he should be well rested and able to go 35+ minutes if this game is close throughout.

Player to watch: Derrick Favors

Wednesday was the five year anniversary of the trade that sent Deron Williams to the Nets and Favors to Utah. Since moving away from the Nets, Favors has continued to develop and is one of the better big men in the league. He's averaging career highs in minutes, field goal percentage, free throw percentage, and points per game. Favors is a quality post player, a good mid range shooting big, and a nice pick and roll partner. But defensively is where he shines. Dan Clayton of BBall Breakdown has more:

In fact, in some ways, Favors is especially apt for the demands on a new-era NBA big. Especially on defense.

That’s the end where Favors really shows his Swiss-army knife versatility. There’s not a defensive assignment Favors can’t fulfill with some level of success. He’s a deft trapper, makes good decisions in more conservative hang-back situations, and also gives Utah the freedom to switch 1 through 4 because he stays in front and doesn’t react to every shimmy and shake. He’s quicker laterally than people give him credit for, which is why guys so often give him a chance to beat them.

The Nets didn't see Favors the first game because he was out due to a back injury. Thaddeus Young will have a good challenge on his hands tonight. Young has been having a fine season and will have to keep Favors off the glass and away from the rim on defense.

From the Vault

Tomorrow night is the Oscars, which is the perfect time to relive one of the finer moments in the show's history.

More reading: SLC Dunk