Last week, the Utah Jazz maintained their spotless home record by eking out wins against two of the favorites to win the Eastern Conference.
Their next chance at getting another win in Salt Lake City will be against an opponent that aspires to reach the upper echelon in the East.
The Jazz will seek their sixth straight home win to start the season and attempt to remain the Western Conference’s lone unbeaten team at home Tuesday night when they host the Nets. Brooklyn will be playing the third game of a season-high, five-game road trip.
Three of the wins in the Jazz’s home streak were by five points or fewer. Utah posted a 106-104 decision over Philadelphia on Wednesday, allowing just one basket over the final four minutes, and a 103-100 thriller over Milwaukee on Friday, when Bojan Bogdanovic hit the game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Utah enters play Tuesday on a three-game overall winning streak after following up the dramatic wins by shooting 49.4 percent from the floor, hitting 16 3-pointers and collecting 30 assists Monday in a 122-108 win at Golden State. The Jazz lead the league by allowing an average of 98.1 points, and they have not surrendered more than 108 points in any game so far.
Jazz center Rudy Gobert totaled 25 points and 14 rebounds Monday for his fifth double-double this season while making 11 of 12 shots to raise his field-goal rate to .656 percent.
“It’s very hard to guard when we play that way and when we move the ball like we did and when we attack like we did,” Gobert said. “It’s fun. It’s only been 10 games together, but we’re getting better and better. I’m excited for the future.”
The Nets are hoping to reach the levels of Milwaukee and Philadelphia, especially with Kyrie Irving in the mix. The star guard is averaging 30 points through his first nine games of a four-game, $141 million deal signed in the summer.
Irving scored at least 20 in each of the first eight games. However, was held to a season-low 15 points Sunday when the Nets dropped to 1-1 on their trip with an ugly 139-112 loss at Phoenix. Brooklyn trailed by 30 at one point, allowed 52.5 percent shooting and let the Suns hit 19 3-pointers.
Brooklyn has allowed at least 130 in two games this season and heads into Tuesday yielding 121.7 points per game, which ranks next to last in the league. It also prompted a practice session after Monday was previously slated to be a day off for the Nets.
“It’s your compete level first,” Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson told reporters after practice Monday. “You can talk about all the coverages, but I don’t think our compete level was where it needed to be. Players agreed, our togetherness — defensively and offensively — wasn’t where it needed to be.”
The Nets will have their hands full in attempting to defend Gobert, Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell but will also be down a key rotation player as Caris LeVert will sit out Tuesday due to a sprained right thumb. LeVert is second on the team in scoring (16.8 points per game) and third in minutes (31.6 per game).
LeVert could be replaced in the starting lineup by Spencer Dinwiddie or Garrett Temple. Dinwiddie is averaging 16.7 points, but Temple could get the nod as he is considered the better defensive player.
Utah is 8-2 in the past 10 meetings with the Nets.
–Field Level Media