The Jazz will likely be looking to exact some revenge tonight, after being stunned by the lowly Minnesota Timerbwolves at home Monday night 110-108. The Jazz have actually taken down some big-time teams the past 10 days, beating the Spurs, Magic and Lakers. However, they continue to struggle on the road, going 3-6 there this season. They are a solid offensive unit, currently placing 8th in the league with an offensive efficiency of 106.9. They rank 19th in defensive efficiency, giving up 105.3 points per 100 posessions. Currently, they’re trying to figure out how to get some fresh blood back in the rotation as Kyle Krover, Andrei Kirilenko and Kyrylo Fesnko have all returned from early-season injury.
The Nets, meanwhile, are playing their 7th back-to-back this season, and need to figure out how to get two solid halves from Brook Lopez, instead of one great half, and one terrible one like last night in Cleveland. Good news, on the Devin Harris front: he won’t be facing any additional sanctions or fines from the NBA after his flagrant foul on Jamario Moon last night, according to ESPN.
The Nets and Jazz split their two games last season, with each team winning on the road.
Devin Harris vs. Deron Williams
Devin looked to be getting his stop and pop stroke back last night but he’s got a tall order facing off against Deron Williams, one of the best PGs in the league. Williams has been especially hot lately, scoring 38 points with 13 assists Monday against Minnesota, along with a 21 point, 11 assist performance against the Lakers and a 32 point, 15 assist game against the Magic last week.
Wesley Matthews vs. Courtney Lee
Matthews, a rookie out of Marquette, has started 16 games for the Jazz this year. He’s a solid 32 percent from three-point land, but he’s not a prolific scorer by any stretch, though he did go for 19 points and 6 assists last week against the Lakers. Sounds like the kind of guy who ends up having a big night against the Nets, but Lee has been looking better defensively lately and if he can just get his shot going somewhat, he could really get the edge in this matchup.
Ronnie Brewer vs. Trenton Hassell
While not a great three-point shooter, Brewer has averaged more than 50 percent from the field in each of his three previous NBA seasons and is averaging 50 percent even this year. He’s aggressive to the hoop and has a great free throw rate, so the Nets have to watch where he’s cutting in Utah’s motion offense. I’m assuming Hassell gets the nod tonight, and he’ll have his hands full keeping an eye on Brewer.
Carlos Boozer vs. Josh Boone
Boozer, another member of the heralded 2010 free agent class is truly singing for his supper this season, averaging 20 points and 11 boards. He’s been less impressive offensively his past two games, scoring 14 and 12 points respectively, while battling foul trouble. Still, after battling injuries last season, Boozer appears to be back in a big way. The Nets could use somebody like this in their front court. As for Josh Boone, let’s just say I’m assuming I’m with the majority of Nets fans who are actually looking forward to Yi Jianlian returning to the starting lineup, a scary proposition.
Mehmet Okur vs Brook Lopez
This is an interesting match-up for Lopez. Okur is a big guy who can shoot the three. He’s a mediocre rebounder, and can’t block shots, but most considering him a decent post defender because he likes to play physical. However, Lopez can’t shy away from the inside here and the Nets are going to have to help Brook out on the perimeter if Okur is looking to shoot tonight. If Lopez can play his game, he might finally put together four good quarters of offensive basketball.
And remember folks, as always, don’t be afraid to use this as your open thread. The comments section has been a little quiet the past few nights. I know you guys are out there.