NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, December 3rd (All times eastern)
Los Angeles Clippers (10-4) at Utah Jazz (9-9), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Utah Jazz put their perfect home record on the line Monday night when they welcome the Los Angeles Clippers to EnergySolutions Arena.
The Jazz may be 6-0 at home, but they are in the midst of a two-game losing streak. They fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night and went to Houston and lost on Saturday to fall to .500 for the season.
The reason for Utah's latest swoon is simple - defense. In this two-game slide, the Jazz surrendered an average of 115.0 ppg.
"Usually, (defense) is something that all of us from top to bottom take pride in ... and lately we haven't been getting stops," said Jazz guard Randy Foye. "You can't look at different numbers and plays from the game and say, 'If we would've got this, or if we would've did that.' Top to bottom, we're not getting the job done on defense."
The Rockets had seven players in double-figures and shot 55.4 percent from the field and 50 percent from the 3-point line.
The Jazz are battling injury problems, but that's no excuse for the porous defense. Marvin Williams has missed the last two games with concussion symptoms and Derrick Favors played only nine minutes against the Thunder before he injured his foot. Both players availability is questionable for the Clippers game.
Los Angeles will see a familiar face in Utah. Jazz starting point guard Mo Williams played a key reserve role for the Clippers last season, but the Clips haven't appeared to miss him.
L.A. has one of the deepest rosters in the NBA and the squad received a big boost when Chauncey Billups returned to the lineup on Wednesday after an Achilles tear in February.
Billups hasn't played 20 minutes in his two games back and he's only scored 13 total points, but the Clippers have won both games he's been in uniform.
After a four-game losing streak that saw the Clips allow over 100 points in three of them, Los Angeles tightened things up in the last two. They allowed 88 ppg in home wins against the Minnesota Timberwolves and Sacramento Kings.
Against the Kings, the vaunted Clippers bench was outstanding. Three bench players, Jamal Crawford, Eric Bledsoe and Matt Barnes, all scored in double- digits and the reserves combined for 58 points.
"They are just solid," said guard Chris Paul. "We've been talking about it all season; guys who know who they are. Matt Barnes, Ronny Turiaf, they know who they are. They are going to play hard, play the right way and not do anything to hurt us. They are good teammates and guys that you need on your team if you are going to try to win a championship."
The Clippers may have won the last two in this series, but they are an amazing 2-42 in their last 44 in Utah.
12/03 10:42:35 ET