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Clippers-Jazz Preview


Clippers-Jazz Preview
The Utah Jazz are anxious to get Deron Williams back in the lineup. They may not need him on Saturday night, especially if the Los Angeles Clippers don't have Baron Davis.

The Jazz look to beat the Clippers for the 11th straight time at home, although both teams have injured star point guards.

Williams has missed only four games over the first three seasons of his career, but he sat out Wednesday's season-opener against Denver with a sprained ankle, and likely won't play until next week. The Jazz started Ronnie Price in Williams' place in a 98-94 victory.

"He'll be back and he'll certainly be the great player we know he is," said Utah coach Jerry Sloan about Williams. "We had a little bit of luck and a couple things bounced our way."

Utah went 3-1 against Los Angeles last season, with Williams averaging 22.8 points and 9.8 assists.

It's likely, though, that the Jazz will be able to overcome his absence. They've won 36 of their last 37 home games against the Clippers - the lone win for Los Angeles was a 96-89 victory on Jan. 22, 2003.

Making matters worse for the Clippers (0-2), they may be without Davis in their first road game of the season.

Davis left Friday's 113-103 overtime loss to Denver with a sore left hip suffered in the second quarter. Backup Jason Hart was forced to log most of the minutes at point guard, but he only had three points and two assists in 29 minutes.

"He was able to stand up and walk on his own after being injured, but I asked him if he needed to come out of the game and he said yes," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said of Davis.

Play at point guard is clearly also an issue for Utah without Williams. Price had five assists and three turnovers, but made only 1 of 9 shots for six points while backup Brevin Knight had four points and one assist in 13 minutes.

With Williams and Matt Harpring (ankle) out, Sloan has decided to make some other lineup changes as well. He chose to bring Andrei Kirilenko off the bench for the opener, and Kirilenko responded with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting.

"Right now we've got to try to mix and match and do whatever we can to try to win," said Sloan about Kirilenko. "He keeps you on your toes and he sees things before they develop."

Utah is also unsure whether Kyle Korver, who scored 11 points on Wednesday, will be available. Korver missed practice on Friday to have his right wrist examined.

The Jazz will try to slow down Clippers small forward Al Thornton, who had 30 points and 11 rebounds in Friday's loss. Thornton averaged 15.3 points last season versus Utah.

Los Angeles has lost 12 of its last 13 games on the road.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 1, 2008

 

 
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