Faltering Nets Face Jazz
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(AP) – After a loss to one last-place team, the Utah Jazz will look to bounce back against another before beginning a tough stretch of their schedule.
The Jazz try to beat the struggling New Jersey Nets for a fifth consecutive time Wednesday night as they make the second stop on a five-game road trip.
Utah (27-14) fell 108-101 at Washington on Monday night as their three-game winning streak ended despite another impressive 3-point shooting display.
The Jazz made 14 of 27 from long distance, improving to 34 of 68 in their last three games, but allowed 66 points in the second half – the second-most by a Utah opponent all season.
“They came out and played better than us,” said Deron Williams, who went 6 of 10 from 3-point range and finished with 28 points. “It looked like they wanted it a little bit more, like it meant a little bit more to them.”
Williams, who has scored in double figures in a career-best 47 games, is averaging 26.0 points and 10.0 assists in his last three.
Al Jefferson also came through with a solid effort in the loss, scoring 25 points and recording 10 rebounds. He scored a career high-tying 40 points versus the Nets on Jan. 27, 2008, while with Minnesota.
C.J Miles, who had averaged 22.0 points in his previous two games, had eight Monday. The Jazz will likely look to get him more involved versus the Nets, as they are 13-1 when he scores more than 15 points.
Winning this contest could be vital for Utah, which will make stops in Boston and Philadelphia before concluding its trip next Tuesday with a matchup against the reigning NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers. The Jazz host the NBA-leading San Antonio Spurs the following night.
The Jazz have won their last four matchups with New Jersey by an average of 17.5 points. They defeated the Nets 98-88 at home Nov. 17.
Losers of six straight and 11 of 12, the Nets (10-31) continue to falter amid continuing rumors of a possible trade for Denver Nuggets superstar Carmelo Anthony.
“It’s not easy but it’s also something that’s out there,” shooting guard Sasha Vujacic said following Monday’s 109-100 loss at Golden State to complete an 0-4 road trip. “It’s the business we’re in. We just have to perform to our best level.”
Brook Lopez added 20 points against the Warriors while Devin Harris, whose name has been mentioned as part of the potential Anthony deal, had 19 and eight assists.
“We just have to find something we can hang our hat on really go after it. But we’re still searching” he said. “All these games were winnable for us at some point. We have to find a way to get over the top.”
Lopez is averaging 29.0 points on 64.2-percent shooting over his last three games.
Updated January 19, 2011
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