Tuesday, February 20, 2024
Sports Gaming Monitor

NBA Preview: Utah Jazz (23-23) at Charlotte Hornets (10-33)

The Charlotte Hornets will try to make things right after one of their worst outings of a challenging season when the Utah Jazz visit Saturday night.

It will take a significant turnaround after the Hornets tumbled to a 138-104 home loss to the Houston Rockets on Friday night.

That might have been missing at times in the second half of the Houston game, which concerned Clifford. The Hornets were outscored 83-51 in the half.

Utah won 123-108 on Thursday at Washington to snap a three-game skid, so the Jazz should be in a better collective frame of mind.

For the Jazz, it was important to shake the skid and avoid increasing pressure that might have come with another defeat.

A big boost came from forward John Collins, whose 22 points and 16 rebounds were the high marks in his first season as a member of the Jazz. Collins was a more frequent visitor to Charlotte during his first six NBA seasons when he played for the Atlanta Hawks.

Forward Lauri Markkanen has been Utah’s leading scorer in the team’s past four victories, but other parts of his game often aid the Jazz.

The Jazz’s depth could be a factor particularly against a Charlotte team that has been in a scramble mode in terms of its roster. Utah rates second in the NBA in bench scoring, getting 45.2 points per game from its reserves.

Charlotte, which has lost eight of its past nine home games, was outrebounded 53-32 by the Rockets.

If there was a plus coming from Friday for the Hornets, it was that LaMelo Ball and Brandon Miller were in foul trouble, limiting their minutes in the first game of a back-to-back set. Ball was on the court for just 23 minutes and Miller played 20 minutes.

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