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 before Friday night’s game against the Nets in Salt Lake City.
While Utah managed to break their skid with a win over Denver, Brooklyn added another loss to their streak in Sacramento.
Even after scoring just four points in Wednesday’s 112-101 loss to the Kings, James Harden said the Nets weren’t worried about their loss.
” No worries. We don’t have our whole squad and it happens to us,” Harden said. “We’re just trying to figure out what works best, what works for guys and what doesn’t. Hopefully after the break we can get our full roster and start making progress in the right direction.
Brooklyn enters Friday 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 scored just 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 at San Antonio, since losing seven straight two years ago. Their five-game road trip included losses at Golden State, Phoenix and Sacramento, and ends Sunday in Denver.
“This trip, our goal is to improve. The first two games and the first half tonight, we’re getting better,” Nets coach Steve Nash said. “We didn’t contain the ball enough in the second half and we didn’t make any plays.”
The Jazz beat 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 record night — 18 points and eight assists — and Mike Conley’s 17 in the 108-104 win.
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 went 4-0 against Denver this season.
“Everyone played well. We needed it. Everyone played with energy,” Forrest said. “Happy that we won, rather than the way I played.”
Despite not having a traditional center, the Jazz outshot the Nuggets 64-42 in the paint while turning 14 turnovers into 20 points.
“These are the games that are the most exciting for our team,” Conley said. “It wasn’t the dunks. It wasn’t all three. It wasn’t the big games. The big plays for us were when we retired for a loose ball or got a steal.
The good news for the Jazz is that Mitchell is available to play against Brooklyn after approving the NBA’s concussion protocol on Thursday. Mitchell hasn’t played since sustaining a head injury against the Los Angeles Lakers on Jan. 17.
Clarkson and Whiteside are questionable to face the Nets, while Gobert and House are listed as absentees.
–Field level media
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