Utah (6-2) at Charlotte (2-5)

Fair Currently: Charlotte, NC
Temp: 72° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Fri Nov 14, 2008
  • TV: FSUT
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Utah Jazz have struggled on their season high-tying five-game road trip. Visiting the Charlotte Bobcats may help them break out of their slump.

Utah looks to even its record on the trip Friday when it faces a Charlotte team that has had trouble putting the ball in the basket this season.

The Jazz began the season with five consecutive victories before opening this trip with a 107-99 loss to the New York Knicks on Sunday. They rebounded to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 93-80 Tuesday, but played poorly Wednesday against Washington in a 95-87 defeat to the previously winless Wizards.

“I can’t really say why,” Utah’s Kyle Korver said, “but it did feel like we were a little bit dead tonight.”

Utah (6-2) fell behind 84-82 with 2 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter when Antawn Jamison hit a 3-pointer for Washington. That shot started a 12-0 run that put the game away for the Wizards.

“The deciding factor,” said Jazz point guard Deron Williams, who had eight points, seven assists and six rebounds in his second game after missing the first six with an ankle injury. “We hung our heads a little bit when he hit that shot.”

Utah was already playing without starting center Mehmet Okur, who has missed the last two games after returning home to Turkey because of a family illness, and became further short-handed when reserve Andrei Kirilenko sprained his right index finger.

Kirilenko - tops on the Jazz with 1.4 blocks per game, second with 6.8 rebounds and third in scoring with 14.0 points - is listed as day to day.

Not having a full complement of players may not matter for the Jazz against Charlotte (2-5).

The Bobcats are last in the NBA with 87.3 points and 31.1 field goals made per game, are shooting 42.7 percent from the field and grabbing 37.0 rebounds a contest - second-fewest in the league.

To make matters worse for Charlotte, leading scorer Jason Richardson is out for about a week after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery on Wednesday.

Richardson is averaging 17.6 points and shooting 39.3 percent from 3-point range. He led Charlotte with 23 points in an 88-80 loss to Denver on Tuesday, the Bobcats’ second straight home loss.

“I have never been with a team where you’re trying to figure out whether we drive the ball, whether we post the ball, whether we run pick and roll,” first-year Charlotte coach Larry Brown said. “It’s a real puzzle right now.”

Forward Sean May was active Tuesday for the first time since the season opener after Brown criticized his conditioning following knee surgery. May had no points or rebounds in 2 minutes of action.

“We need him. … Hopefully we can work him real hard,” Brown said. “I want to put him out there when he has a chance.”

The Jazz, who have lost their last two visits to Charlotte, conclude their trip Saturday against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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Friday, Nov 14