Nets seek bounce-back effort in Utah

9:50 AM, Mar 30, 2013   |    comments
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(Sports Network) - The Brooklyn Nets hit a bump in the road during their long eight-game road trip and look to regroup on a short turnaround Saturday against the Utah Jazz.

The Nets were 4-1 on the trek until suffering a 109-87 beating at the hands of the Denver Nuggets Friday night. The Nuggets dominated three of the four quarters of action and shot 56.8 percent for the game.

Brooklyn was 40.5 percent shooting and committed 21 turnovers, leading to 29 Nuggets' points. Deron Williams and Andray Blatche scored 19 and 16 points, respectively, and Reggie Evans ended with 15 and 16 rebounds. Evans has pulled down at least 10 boards in nine straight and 13 of 14 games.

"We didn't play as well as we have been playing but Denver had a lot to do with that," said Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo, who is 28-16 as interim coach.

Having already clinched a postseason berth for the first time since 2006-07, the Nets are 4-2 on the current odyssey and 20-16 on the road. The 20 road wins matches a franchise best set in 2005-06 and the Nets have never finished a season with a road record above .500 since entering the NBA back in 1976.

Brooklyn is fourth in the East -- two games ahead of Chicago and 2 1/2 clear of Atlanta -- and sits 3 1/2 games behind New York for the Atlantic Division lead. The Nets, who are one of the top defenders in opponents scoring (94.7 ppg), will wrap up the trip Wednesday at Cleveland, then will head home for three straight.

The Nets hope to hit the 100-point mark in Utah and are 19-3 this season when doing so.

Nets swingman Joe Johnson (quadriceps) missed his third straight game and is questionable against the Jazz. He is averaging 16.4 ppg.

After coming off a rare road win, the Jazz are back in Salt Lake City for four straight games, starting with Saturday's tilt with Brooklyn.

Utah ended a nine-game road losing streak with Friday's 105-95 victory at Portland as Mo Williams scored 28 points and Paul Millsap recorded a double- double with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Al Jefferson scored 22 points in the win, Utah's third in a row since losing four straight, and was delighted to see how well Williams played.

"He got it going," Jefferson said. "The pick and roll was working for everybody."

The Jazz are in a fight for the eighth and final postseason spot in the West and are even with the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers will visit Sacramento Saturday.

Utah is 26-9 as the host and will also welcome Portland, Denver and New Orleans to town on the residency. The Jazz defeated Brooklyn, 92-90, back on Dec. 18 at Barclays Center and have won three straight and seven of the last eight matchups between the teams. The Nets are winless in their last three visits to Salt Lake City.

The Sports Network

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