Monday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers isn’t merely a homecoming for the road-weary Jazz — it’s also a reunion for two Jazz starters who spent two seasons with the Clippers each of the last two seasons.
However, both Randy Foye and Mo Williams downplayed competing against their former team following Monday’s shoot around.
“I’m concentrated on trying to win tonight,” Foye said. “[We’ve] lost two in a row, so my biggest focus is trying to win tonight.”
The Jazz (9-9) are coming off a season-opening stretch in which they played 12 of 18 games on the road. They emerged intact, although weakened by injuries. They have a big task Monday if they want to remain perfect at EnergySolutions, where they are 6-0.
And with the Clippers, all conversations start with All-NBA point guard Chris Paul, who Foye played alongside and Williams backed up last season.
“People don’t realize the nastiness that he has,” Foye said. “He’s always smiling, really professional, but he has a nastiness about him, where he always wants to win, no matter what.”
Foye said whether Paul is smiling or not, “he’s out there trying to rip your heart out on the court.”
Said Mo Williams: “He’s very crafty. He’s just a good player all around. He’s a good teammate. ... Everything advertised about him is true.”
The Clippers (10-6) have won two straight games and split two against the Jazz in the preseason. Backup guard Jamal Crawford led them with 17.5 points per game, but forward Blake Griffin averages a near double-double (16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds), as does Paul (16.4 points, 9.3 points).
“They’re really good,” Foye said. “They have a lot of names, they have a lot of offensive scoring power.”
Foye averaged 11 points in 65 games, including 48 starts, with the Clippers last season. Williams, who joined the Clippers via trade in the middle of the 2010-11 season, moved to the bench when the Clippers acquired Paul before last season. He scored 13.2 points per game as a reserve.