Portland, Ore. • The wait can pay off in the long run.
"Once you get the guys it takes you a little while to get the rhythm of the guys to grow together," Ty Corbin, the coach of the last-place Utah Jazz, says. "You may take some lumps in that time, but it can happen. It's frustrating going through it. It's hard taking the beatings while you're in it. But it can pay off if you do it right."
The coach's comments were actually about the Portland Trail Blazers, the Jazz's opponent tonight, and a team that appears to have taken the next step after missing the playoffs two years in a row. But as the Jazz have struggled through the first quarter of this season, Corbin and the Jazz hope their trials and patience will be similarly rewarded down the road.
With Jazz forward Marvin Williams still in Salt Lake City, resting his sore right heel, Enes Kanter will start tonight for Utah, alongside Trey Burke, Gordon Hayward, Richard Jefferson and Derrick Favors.
Jeremy Evans, who has been dealing with the flu, is probable to play.
Tipoff • 8 p.m. MT.
TV • ROOT Sports
Radio • 97.5 FM, 960 AM, 1280 AM
Utah's probable starters:
PG — Trey Burke, 12.6 ppg, 4.1 apg
SG — Gordon Hayward, 16.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg
SF — Richard Jefferson, 9.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg
PF — Derrick Favors, 13.7 ppg, 9.9 rpg
C — Enes Kanter, 12.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg
Portland's probable starters:
PG — Damian Lillard, 20.2 ppg, 5.7 apg
SG — Wesley Matthews, 16.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg
SF — Nicolas Batum, 13.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg
PF — LaMarcus Aldridge, 23.5 ppg, 9.7 rpg
C — Robin Lopez, 8.7 ppg, 8.4 rpg
On the Jazz: Trey Burke dished nine assists, a season high, against the Pacers. The loss to Indiana dropped Utah to 3-3 with Burke as the starting point guard. … Tonight's game the first of eight road contests over the Jazz's next 11. … The league's second worst defense, allowing 107 points per 100 possessions. Only the Brooklyn Nets are worse.
On the Blazers: The Jazz will see heavy doses of Portland's starters tonight. Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews, Nic Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge and Robin Lopez each average more than 30 minutes a night. … Matthews, the former Jazz man, is averaging better than 54 percent from the floor and an even 50 percent from 3. … Lillard, the Weber State product who landed in Portland after the first of team's two most recent lottery seasons, is second on the team in scoring, averaging just over 20 points a game.
The spread: Rockets favorited by as much as 8 on some books.
HOT: Derrick Favors is coming off a 22-point night in the loss to the Pacers. The 6-10 big man's offensive game has improved with extra minutes this season. He’s shooting 42 percent from 5-9 feet this season, up from 25.6 percent a year ago. From 10 to 14 feet, he’s hitting on 56 percent of his shots. Last year, he made 40.7 percent of his attempts from that range.
NOT: Richard Jefferson has scored just seven points combined in his last two games. He's shooting just 30 percent from the floor in that stretch.
— Aaron Falk
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