Jazz getting healthier ahead of visit from skidding Nets

The Utah Jazz and Brooklyn Nets had something in common heading into Wednesday’s NBA action: five-game losing streaks.

The Jazz are relieved their skid is over coming into Friday night’s matchup against the Nets in Salt Lake City.

While Utah was able to snap its slide by eking out a win over Denver, Brooklyn added another defeat to its streak in Sacramento.

Even after scoring just four points in the 112-101 setback against the Kings on Wednesday, James Harden said the Nets aren’t worried about their losing ways.

«There’s no concern. We don’t have our entire team and this is happening to us,» said Harden, who was ruled out for Friday’s game with tightness in his left hamstring.

«We’re just trying to figure out what works best, what guys fit, what guys don’t. Hopefully after the break we can get our whole roster and start making strides in the right direction.»

Brooklyn enters Friday also without Kevin Durant (knee), LaMarcus Aldridge (ankle) and Joe Harris (ankle).

Nic Claxton recorded a career-high 23 points for the Nets, while James Johnson contributed 18 against the Kings. But Brooklyn only scored 15 points in the fourth quarter en route to losing No. 6 in a row.

It’s the longest losing streak for the Nets, who last won Jan. 21 in San Antonio, since they lost seven consecutive two years ago. Their five-game road trip has included losses at Golden State, Phoenix and Sacramento, and concludes Sunday in Denver.

«This trip our objective is to get better. The first two games and the first half tonight we were getting better,» Nets coach Steve Nash said. «We didn’t contain the ball enough in the second half and we didn’t make plays.»

The Jazz defeated Denver to snap their losing streak despite playing without Rudy Gobert (calf), Donovan Mitchell (concussion protocol), Jordan Clarkson (knee), Hassan Whiteside (back) and Danuel House Jr. (health and safety protocol). Coach Quin Snyder was also out due to COVID-19, while Joe Ingles (torn left ACL) is out for the season.

Utah was boosted by Trent Forrest‘s career-high night — 18 points and eight assists — and 17 from Mike Conley in the 108-104 victory.

Bojan Bogdanovic made key plays in the final 10 seconds and scored 15 points. Royce O’Neale and Rudy Gay also had 15 points apiece as Utah wrapped up a 4-0 record vs. Denver this season.

«Everybody played well. We needed it. Everybody played with energy,» Forrest said. «More happy that we won, rather than how I played.»

Despite not having a traditional center, the Jazz outscored the Nuggets 64-42 in the paint while also turning 14 turnovers into 20 points.

«Those are the plays that are the most exciting for our team,» Conley said. «It wasn’t the dunks. It wasn’t the threes. It wasn’t the big plays. The big plays for us were when we scrapped for a loose ball or came up with a steal.»

The good news for the Jazz is that Mitchell is available to play against Brooklyn after clearing the NBA’s concussion protocol on Thursday. Mitchell hasn’t played since sustaining an injury to his head against the Los Angeles Lakers on Jan. 17.

Clarkson and Whiteside are questionable to face the Nets, while Gobert and House are listed as out.

–Field Level Media

About The Author