The Utah Jazz have the NBA’s best home record this season. Heading into the final weeks of the regular season, they’ll see how big of an advantage that will be.
The Jazz look to win their 10th straight home meeting with the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday, as they continue their push for the best record in the Western Conference.
Utah (47-25) has won its last nine straight home games against the Clippers (21-50), and 31 of the last 32 meetings in Salt Lake City. Friday is the finale of a five-game homestand for the Jazz, and the third consecutive game in a four-game stretch against teams with losing records.
Utah is hoping to continue taking advantage of that stretch as it tries to catch New Orleans, which is three games ahead of the Jazz for the best record in the West. Houston, the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio are all one game behind the Hornets, but the Jazz have a very favorable schedule down the stretch, playing six of their final 10 games at home—including home games against the Spurs and Rockets.
“We have as much pressure as everyone else does on them,” Utah’s Matt Harpring said. “Everyone wants to make the playoffs. Everyone wants home-court advantage and everyone is within one, two, three four games of getting it.”
Utah is looking to win its third straight overall. The Jazz have cruised to easy wins their last two games, beating Seattle 115-101 on Saturday, then beating Charlotte 128-106 on Tuesday.
Seven players scored in double figures against the Bobcats, led by Carlos Boozer, who had 28 points and 13 rebounds. Mehmet Okur added 20 points and 10 rebounds and Deron Williams had 14 points and 15 assists.
The Jazz close out this five-game homestand Friday against a Clippers team that has lost nine straight and 17 of its last 19, including a 97-88 loss at San Antonio on Wednesday.
“We just fell apart on offense,” said center Chris Kaman, who returned after a nine-game absence due to a sore lower back to score 16 points. “I think we panicked a little bit. … We were up five points but we couldn’t finish the game, which has been a consistent problem for us all year.”
Los Angeles has averaged just 91.2 points over its last 19 games, while allowing opponents to average 104.9. The Clippers are just 9-26 on the road this season, including seven straight losses by an average of 13.1 points.
The Clippers’ last win in Utah was a 96-89 victory on Jan. 22, 2003. They also beat the Jazz 114-104 on Feb. 22 at the Staples Center behind 27 points each from Maggette and Thornton.