Monday's game against the Los Angeles Clippers wasn't merely a homecoming for the road-weary Jazz it a reunion for two Jazz starters who played for the Clippers each of the last two seasons.
However, both Randy Foye and Mo Williams downplayed competing against their former team following Monday's shootaround.
"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."
Foye and Williams both played for the Clippers for all of last season, after joining forces midway through the 2010-11 season when Williams was traded to Los Angeles from Cleveland.
With the Clippers, all conversations lead to All-NBA point guard Chris Paul, and in two years sharing the backcourt with him, Foye and Williams became experts.
"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 Williams: "He's very crafty. He's just a good player all around. He's a good teammate. ... Everything advertised about him is true.
Last year with the Clippers, Foye averaged 11 points in 65 games, including 48 starts. Williams moved to the bench when the Clippers acquired Paul prior to last season. As a reserve, he scored 13.2 points per game.
Injury plague continues
The Jazz played their third game on Monday without Marvin Williams as he continues to battle concussion-like symptoms. Derrick Favors, meanwhile, did not dress for the second straight game after an MRI was inconclusive and an ultrasound confirmed he has plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
All these injuries have resulted in a season of mixing and matching, basing lineups on who's available, rather than whom the Jazz are playing.
Coach Tyrone Corbin utilized six different starting lineups through the first 18 games, and center Al Jefferson was the only player to start every game of the season at his natural position (Paul Millsap started two at small forward).
"It's frustrating," Corbin said, "but it is what it is. It's a long NBA season, things happen. One of the best things that we have on this squad is a lot of guys I feel good about putting in the game. We've always talked about everybody being ready to play."
So far, they have been. However, the Jazz eagerly await the day Favors and Williams are ready to play, as well.
The Jazz were noticeably deficient on defense without Favors against Houston and could have used Williams on Friday to check Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant.
"It's a bigger ... hit on the defense than the offense," Corbin said. "They're two guys that make their hay on the defensive end."