Jazz set sights on 4-0 trip
Portland, Ore. » Carlos Boozer described the possibility as "monster" after Friday's victory over Golden State. "Monumental" might be equally appropriate given the Jazz's struggles on the road in recent seasons.
With a win tonight over the Trail Blazers, the Jazz would complete a 4-0 sweep of their post-All-Star break trip and win their seventh consecutive road game, a streak equaled or surpassed only five times in franchise history.
The last time the Jazz swept a road trip of four or more games came Feb. 7-12, 1999 at the start of the lockout-shortened season as they beat the Lakers, Dallas, Phoenix and Golden State.
The Jazz already have beaten Portland three times this season, and the Blazers are coming off a 96-76 loss Friday to Boston with Brandon Roy returning from a hamstring injury and Marcus Camby making his debut after being acquired from the L.A. Clippers.
After going just 15-26 on the road last season, the Jazz stand only two victories away from equaling that total. They are 13-12 away from home, having gone 2-2 and 2-3 on previous long trips in November and December this season.
"From being out of the playoffs to where we are now, we're just going to keep pushing and get as good of a seed as we can and hopefully make a run from there," C.J. Miles said.
The Jazz have yet to play their best basketball on this trip, yet are winning any way. They committed a combined 43 turnovers in beating Houston and New Orleans and let a 27-point lead slip to just 10 in the fourth quarter against Golden State.
Jazz coach Jerry Sloan learned from trainer Gary Briggs when he walked out for the tipoff Friday that Ronnie Brewer had to be carried off the court with a hamstring injury in his Memphis debut, having been traded by the Jazz barely 24 hours earlier.
"I hate to see anybody get hurt," Sloan said. "He was one of our guys and we still have a lot of respect for him and all that and I hate to see it happen to him. Hopefully, he'll be able to bounce back."
The Grizzlies announced Saturday that Brewer would be out indefinitely with a partially torn right hamstring. Brewer had been remarkably durable the last two seasons in Utah, playing in 81 of 82 games in 2008-09 and all 53 games this season before the trade.
"That's basketball for you," Sloan said. "Who's going to say that you're not ever going to get hurt? That's the crazy thing about it. You never know what's going to happen. That's why you've got to do what you've got to do today and worry about the rest later."
Miles learned the news on the bench from equipment manager Brian Zettler . "I feel sorry for him and wish him the best of luck even more, with that and with his new situation," Miles said. "It's a new city and then something like that happens."
Sloan credited Andrei Kirilenko 's play since returning to the starting lineup as the difference for the Jazz in winning 16 of 18 games since Jan. 9. In turn, Sloan cited Kirilenko's improved build and ability to finish at the rim as making the biggest difference in his play.
"He can attack the basket in there now because of I think his energy and his strength, whereas before he was looking to get a foul," Sloan said.
At Rose Garden, Portland, Ore.
Time » 8:30 p.m.
TV » FSN Utah, ESPN
Radio » 1320 AM, 98.7 FM
Records » Jazz 35-19, Portland 32-25
Last meeting » Jazz, 118-85 (Feb. 3)
Line » Jazz by 1
About the Jazz » The Jazz have shot better than 60 percent in all three victories against Portland this season. ... They ended a six-game losing streak in Portland with a 106-95 victory on Jan. 27 and could sweep the season series with a victory tonight. ... Mehmet Okur will miss the game after the birth of his son Friday.
About the Trail Blazers » If the playoffs started today, Portland would be the No. 8 seed. ... Two of the Jazz's victories against Portland last month came with the Blazers missing Brandon Roy. ... The Blazers had just seven assists in Friday's loss to Boston as Marcus Camby had two points, seven rebounds, three blocks and five turnovers in 29 minutesduring his Portland debut.
The Jazz's current six-game road winning streak is only the eighth such streak in franchise history. A victory tonight in Portland would match their fourth-longest streak ever.
Number of Games Dates
|1.||15||Nov. 27, 1994-Jan. 26, 1995|
|2.||9||Feb. 14, 1998-March 16, 1998|
|3.||8||March 12, 1997-April 6, 1997|
|4.||7||Jan. 6, 2001-Feb. 23, 2001|