Clippers Look For 6th Win In 7 Games As They Host Utah
The Utah Jazz continue to be inconsistent at home. Fortunately for them, their next two games are on the road, where they’ve played very well.
Unfortunately, they could be without one of their starters.
Andrei Kirilenko is doubtful to play Wednesday night when the Jazz go for their fourth straight road win in a matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Utah (21-10) had its three-game winning streak snapped with a 96-91 loss to Portland on Monday, its first home contest after completing a four-game trip last Wednesday.
After averaging 106.5 points and 26.5 assists the previous two games, the Jazz were held to 17 assists and committed 17 turnovers against the Trail Blazers.
“Sometimes breaks are good; sometimes they are bad,” said guard Deron Williams, who had 31 points and six assists but five turnovers. “Tonight it was bad. We came out sluggish, couldn’t find the energy.”
The Jazz will look to rebound on the road, where they are 10-4 after winning their last three away games.
However, they seem likely to be without Kirilenko, who didn’t play in the fourth quarter Monday because of a lower back strain. The forward, who had four points on 1-of-5 shooting, is averaging 11.3 points and 5.1 rebounds.
C.J. Miles would likely start if Kirilenko can’t go, and his absence would probably mean more minutes for Mehmet Okur, who has played in three games due to a ruptured Achilles’ tendon suffered last season and an ankle injury incurred last week. Okur had six points and five boards in a season-high 17 minutes Monday.
Utah has won nine of 10 against Los Angeles (10-22) and beat the Clippers twice last month. Los Angeles, however, has won five of six and is coming off a 100-99 victory over Sacramento on Monday.
Eric Gordon tied a career high with six 3-pointers and scored 31 points for Los Angeles, which had 22 turnovers and blew a nine-point lead before holding on.
Ryan Gomes fouled Tyreke Evans on a 3-point attempt with 1.9 seconds left, but after making the first two free throws, Evans missed the third and the Kings missed another shot at the buzzer.
“We would have lost this game earlier this year,” Gordon said.
The Clippers have averaged 103.7 points in their last six games after scoring 95.6 a contest over their first 26.
Gordon has averaged 27.3 points in the last four games, connecting on 16 of 26 3-pointers.
“We have a lot more confidence,” said forward Blake Griffin, who has scored at least 20 points in eight straight games. “We know we haven’t achieved anything yet. We got to keep learning every day and get better and better and make sure we put to use what we learn.”
Griffin is looking for another dominant effort against the Jazz. He had 35 points and 14 rebounds in a 109-97 home loss Nov. 28.
Los Angeles has lost three of four at home against Utah.