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Nets continue the road trip in Utah

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NBA: Utah Jazz at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It feels good. To win for a change. The Brooklyn Nets were on a 16 game losing streak going into Wednesday’s game vs Sacramento. It was tied for the second longest in franchise history and things were getting (even more) grim around these parts. Thanks to a gutty effort, they were able to come away with a win against the Kings on Wednesday.

Waiting for the Nets will be the Utah Jazz. Quin Snyder’s bunch has had a fantastic season and will be a tough matchup come playoff time. They’ve had recent issues though, as they’ve lost their last two games, including a 27 point beatdown at home vs the Wolves on Wednesday.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip off after 9.

Injuries

Nothing doing for Brooklyn. YES!

Rodney Hood didn’t play on Wednesday and is out.

The game

The Jazz won the first meeting in January.

The Nets will be looking to win back-to-back games for the first time this season. It won’t be easy and when they get out here, they head to Portland to play the Blazers on the second night of a back-to-back.

Caris Levert has been playing well, and gets to match up against one of the best small forwards in the league. Gordon Hayward has been having the best season of his career and was rewarded with his firs selection to the All Star Game in February. He’s averaging a career high 22 points a game on a 46.8/39/86.2 shooting split. He’s a great finisher at the rim as he has made 71 percent of his shot attempts inside of three feet. For a team that plays at the slowest pace in the league, having a lead scorer who turns the ball over as infrequently as Hayward is a luxury that can be maximized come playoff time.

With former Net Derrick Favors in the frontcourt for Utah, former Jazz Trevor Booker should see a lot of playing time tonight. The Jazz are the fifth best rebounding team in the NBA this year while Brooklyn is the fourth worst. Managing possessions will be key for Brooklyn and if they can do better than expected on the glass, they’ll have a shot to keep this game close going into the fourth quarter.

Player to watch: Rudy Gobert

In a league full of good young centers, Gobert is one of the very best. He’s a contender for Defensive Player of the year and is the anchor to one of the league’s stingiest defenses. He’s tops in blocks, fifth in defensive rebounding, and holds opponents to only 48.6 percent on shots inside of six feet. He can score a little bit (exclusively at the rim), but with the roster around him, he doesn’t need to do much on offense besides crash the boards and run pick and rolls.

Brook Lopez is coming off of a historic night on Wednesday. He scored his 10,000th career point and will likely pass Buck Williams in all time scoring before the month ends. For a player who has been through injuries, terrible play, and a variety of other issues with the Nets, it’s a nice accomplishment and one that should be celebrated when the Nets get back in town in a few weeks. For tonight, camping out on the perimeter might be the way to go.

From the Vault

Lopez became the second Net to score 10,000 points, joining Buck Williams. Let’s take a trip back to 1986 and get to know the former All Star.

More reading: SLC Dunk