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EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey -- In their first of five straight games on the road, the Utah Jazz will be taking on the Nets Wednesday in New Jersey.
After adding a game to the wrong side of the record column in Monday night's last second loss to Minnesota in Energy Solutions Arena, Utah (14-10) will attempt to improve their record away from home - something that hasn't come easy for the Jazz so far this season.
Away from Salt Lake City, the Jazz have been scraping by with a 3-6 record. Not an impressive start on the road, despite managing to claim one of their wins in San Antonio.
Matching up against the team with the fewest wins in the league the Jazz, have got a chance to bump their road record to 4-6. However, according to forward Andrei Kirilenko, they've got to give the Nets (2-23) just as much respect as they would the team with the best record in the league if they plan on doing so.
Utah Jazz (14-10)
at New Jersey Nets (2-23)
Date: Wednesday December 16, 2009
Time: 5:30 p.m. MT
Site: IZOD Center, East Rutherford, NJ
TV: FSN Utah : Comcast - Ch. 52 (HD Ch. 693); DIRECTV - Ch. 684 (HD Ch. 684-1); DISH - Ch. 445 (HD Ch. 9515)
Radio: 1320 AM KFAN or 98.7 FM
Season Series Record: First meeting
Last Season Series Record: Jazz 1, Nets 1
Last Meeting: 12/17/2008 Jazz 103, Nets 92
"Every team in the NBA can beat anybody, so that's the rule," Kirilenko said. "We're coming to New Jersey right now and they have the worse record in the league, but we can't underestimate them."
KSL takes a look back and ahead as we prep for the game against the Nets.
What did we learn about the Jazz against the Minnesota Timberwolves?
- The same day he was named the NBA's Western Conference Player of the Week, Deron Williams produced great numbers in Utah's second game of the season against the Timberwolves, ending with 38 points and 13 assists. However, the Jazz were unable to come out with the win, giving Minnesota their fourth win of the season.
- Free throws proved to be the biggest obstacle of the night for Utah, shooting 21-37 for a low 56.8 percent from the line. The Jazz missed of free throws in the fourth quarter.
- Minnesota outrebounded the Jazz 48-36, creating several more opportunities to score. If the Jazz want to win games down the stretch, they've got to knock down free throws and crash the boards.
What can the Jazz expect from the Nets?
- Dead last in the NBA with a 2-23 season-opening record, the Nets have got to be hungry for a win. After last night's 89-99 loss to Cleveland, New Jersey showed that while they still aren't finding success in obtaining the W, they are at least improving.
- Utah needs to find a way to keep their sights on the game at hand. The Nets may not be the most challenging matchup for the Jazz, but that's the same thing fans said of Minnesota, and here are the Jazz, 0-2 against the Timberwolves.
- Okur needs to summon that tough inside defense and take care of business against the Nets' Brook Lopez. Lopez went for 20 in the first half of last night's game with the Cavs before Cleveland finally shut him down. If the Jazz can't stop the Nets' inside game, they could be facing another ugly loss to a team with an even uglier record.
Probable Jazz starting lineup
- C - Mehmet Okur, 6-11, 273 lbs., Turkey
- PF - Carlos Boozer, 6-9, 260 lbs., Duke
- SF - Ronnie Brewer, 6-7, 236 lbs., Arkansas
- SG - Wesley Matthews, 6-5, 224 lbs., Marquette
- PG - Deron Williams, 6-3, 207 lbs., Illinois
Probable Nets starting lineup
- C - Brook Lopez, 7-0, 265 lbs., Stanford
- PF - Josh Boone, 6-10, 240 lbs., Connecticut
- SF - Trenton Hassell, 6-5, 227 lbs., Austin Peay
- SG - Courtney Lee, 6-5, 200 lbs., Western Kentucky
- PG - Devin Harris, 6-3, 190 lbs., Wisconsin
Brook Lopez, 19.5 ppg, 9.4 rpg / Devin Harris, 16.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg
Jazz Injury Updates
- Ronnie Price - (toe) OUT
- Matt Harpring - (knee) OUT
Nets Injury Updates
- Jarvis Hayes - (hamstring) - OUT until at least mid-December
- Eduardo Najera - (back) OUT until at least mid-December
- Tony Battie - (groin) - Questionable
- Chris Douglas-Roberts - (knee) Doubtful
- Yi Jianlian - (knee, lip) - OUT until at least mid-December
The Jazz are known around the league as one of the toughest teams to play at home, but if they want to keep their sixth seed place in the Western Conference for very much longer, or have any chance at moving up a spot, they've got to win on the road. And more often than 33 percent of the time.
With five road games ahead of them, Utah has the perfect chance to improve their standings with their first opportunity presenting itself Wednesday in New Jersey.