Jazz-Nets Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 26, 2012
Playing four games in five nights is difficult enough, but the Utah Jazz will test their stamina in order to complete the stretch. Fresh off playing one of the longest games in NBA history, Utah visits the New Jersey Nets on Monday night seeking its sixth win in seven meetings. The Jazz (26-23), one of three teams tied for seventh place in the Western Conference, had their season-high six-game winning streak snapped with a 139-133 quadruple-overtime loss to Atlanta on Sunday. It tied for the third-longest game in league history and was only the ninth ever to go into four overtimes. Phoenix beat Portland on Nov. 14, 1997, in the most recent occurrence. Al Jefferson scored 28 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, while Paul Millsap added 25 points and 13 boards. ''We'll take a moral victory out of this one,'' Millsap said. ''This was a good ball team we played tonight. They played excellent defense. We just didn't get it done.'' Jefferson dismissed questions about fatigue leading into the next contest, which will be Utah's fourth since Thursday. ''It's over with,'' Jefferson said. ''We've just got to get ready for tomorrow. That's why you get in shape. We can't make any excuses." Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin was happy with his team's effort. "We showed a lot of character and fight,'' Corbin said. ''That's what we need on the road in the second half to win. We've got to make sure we understand that's what's going to make us have a chance.'' Jefferson had 20 points in Utah's 107-94 win over New Jersey on Jan. 14, helping the Jazz to a fifth victory in the last six meetings. That matchup also marked the first for Nets point guard Deron Williams against his former team, though he shot only 3 of 15 and finished with 16 points and five turnovers. Williams, who was dealt to New Jersey on Feb. 24, 2011, for Derrick Favors, Devin Harris and two first-round draft picks, had 19 points and tied his season high with 14 assists as the Nets (16-34) ended a five-game losing streak with a 102-89 win over league-worst Charlotte on Saturday. Kris Humphries added 20 points and 16 rebounds for New Jersey, which has lost seven of nine. ''It was a good win, a long time coming,'' Williams said. ''We've needed it for a while, so I'm definitely happy about it.'' Coach Avery Johnson also seemed relieved with the victory after meeting with general manager Billy King prior to the game. ''We just needed a win,'' Johnson said. ''It was one of those games, by any means necessary.'' New Jersey broke out of its scoring slump after averaging 87.4 points during its skid. It ranks 25th in the league averaging 92.7 points overall. Utah is allowing 98.3 points per game but has surged offensively of late, averaging 109.2 points while winning seven of nine. Jefferson is averaging 25.7 points and 10.6 rebounds over his last three, and he scored a career-high 40 points against the Nets while playing for Minnesota on Jan. 27, 2008.
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