Following their matchup with the Clippers, the Jazz play a quartet of West playoff teams—Memphis, Dallas, Houston and Minnesota.
Utah slipped a half-game out of the eighth and final playoff spot with Friday’s 94-81 home loss to the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs.
“Still plenty of time to work our way back in there,” said Jazz center Greg Ostertag, whose team has alternated wins and losses in its last six games. “We’re only half a game out.”
The Jazz have made the playoffs 20 straight seasons— the second-longest active streak in the NBA behind the Portland Trail Blazers (21).
This is their final meeting of the season with the Clippers. They have taken two of the first three, and haven’t lost a season series to Los Angeles since dropping three of five in 1985-86. Utah has won 19 of the last 21 matchups in the series.
Gordan Giricek, who led Utah with 22 points Friday, has shot 57 percent over his last two games while averaging 20.5 points—nearly 10 more than his season average.
The Clippers, who fell 114-110 in overtime at Chicago on Friday, haven’t won since a 110-98 victory at Phoenix on March 16. Los Angeles has lost 18 of 20 overall, and 12 of its last 13 on the road.
Brand is averaging 26 points and 14.5 rebounds over his last two games. He ranks sixth among players in the West with 38 double-doubles this season.
STANDINGS (through April 2): Jazz - 7th place, 13 1/2 GB, Midwest Division. Clippers - 6th place, 26 1/2 GB, Pacific Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Jazz - Kirilenko, 16.5 ppg and 8.1 rpg; Arroyo, 5.1 apg. Clippers - Maggette, 20.6 ppg; Brand, 10.5 rpg; Jaric, 4.8 apg.
SEASON SERIES: Jazz, 2-1.
LAST MEETING: Jan. 26; Jazz, 98-93. At Utah, the Jazz avoided losing consecutive games to the Clippers for the first time since 1987. They outrebounded Los Angeles 45-34 and made 32 free throws to overcame a 49 percent shooting effort by the Clippers. Brand had 18 points and nine boards for Los Angeles.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Jazz - 13-25 on the road; Clippers - 18-19 at home.