Bobcats-Jazz Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 28, 2013
A sustained effort complete with focus and intensity could be what the Utah Jazz need to end their recent rough stretch. Hosting the lowly Charlotte Bobcats might help. The Jazz look to avoid a season-worst fourth consecutive loss with an eighth straight victory over the Bobcats on Friday night. A 20-point second-half deficit was too much for Utah (31-27) to overcome in Wednesday's 102-91 home loss to Atlanta. Though the Jazz's last three defeats came against the Los Angeles Clippers, Boston and the Hawks, coach Tyrone Corbin knows his team can't afford to feel sorry for itself. "We're going to have to do whatever it takes to get a win," he said. "We need to make sure we understand there's a sense of urgency. Charlotte's not going to be an easy team to play against, so we've got to make sure we come out determined to get a win." Utah has dropped back-to-back home games after winning 12 of its first 14 in Salt Lake City in 2013. Starting games strong has not necessarily been an issue of late for the Jazz, but their play coming out of halftime needs to improve. Utah has been outscored by an average of 12.3 points in the third quarter during its overall skid. The Jazz missed their first nine shots of the second half Wednesday and Atlanta used a 10-2 run to take control. "We've got to be able to pick it up in the third," said Gordon Hayward, who scored 11 points after totaling 49 in the previous two games. "We can't be flat like we were. Hopefully, we can change that in the next game." The Jazz have a good chance to turn things around against the Bobcats (13-44), who have lost seven straight in the series and five in a row at Utah. Al Jefferson, who had 26 points and 11 rebounds Wednesday, also scored 26 while Paul Millsap added 19 in a 112-102 victory at Charlotte on Jan. 9. Jefferson has averaged 22.8 points while shooting 58.2 percent in his last six games against the Bobcats. Millsap, however, could miss a second straight contest with an ankle injury suffered in Monday's 110-107 overtime loss to the Celtics. Derrick Favors started and had 17 points and 15 boards against the Hawks. Utah's big men could be in for another big game against a Bobcats team that has been outscored in the paint in six consecutive games by an average of 18.0 points. Charlotte lost its fourth straight Tuesday, 106-84 to the Clippers, who got 37 points on 17-of-20 shooting from Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Gerald Henderson matched a season high with 24 points, but rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist went scoreless on two shots in 22 minutes for the Bobcats, who have averaged 89.3 points and allowed 107.3 on 51.7 percent shooting during their skid. "We're giving heavy minutes to a lot of young guys, and that's a lot of seeds in the earth that will eventually be harvested," coach Mike Dunlap said. The second overall draft pick in 2012, Kidd-Gilchrist had 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists against Utah earlier this season. Charlotte's Kemba Walker averaged 24.8 points on 53.0 percent shooting in the previous four games before going 5 of 15 for 15 points at Los Angeles. He's totaled 33 points and gone 13 of 24 (54.2 percent) from the field in two career games versus Utah.
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