In the opener of a three-game road trip, the Jazz look to win their 10th straight against the Raptors on Wednesday night.
Utah (46-25) faces plenty of competition for a chance at home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs, leading Phoenix by one game while San Antonio and Oklahoma City trail by three. Division leaders Dallas and Denver are also within reach for the Jazz, who have won four of five after losing their previous two.
Utah, however, has been plagued by poor road play, losing three straight. The usually sharp-shooting Jazz missed all of their shots from 3-point range in two of those games.
They may not need much production offensively to continue their run against the Raptors (35-34). Utah has held Toronto to 90.9 points per game over the last nine matchups, which includes four wins at Air Canada Centre.
The Raptors have lost five of eight at home overall after winning 14 of their previous 15.
Utah should enter this contest particularly confident, coming off a 110-97 win over Boston on Monday night. The Jazz beat one of the East’s top teams despite missing Andrei Kirilenko(notes) (calf) for the fifth time in six games.
Kirilenko’s status is uncertain. The veteran forward had 20 points, seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks in a 104-91 win over Toronto on Nov. 18.
Raptors All-Star Chris Bosh(notes) had 32 points and 17 rebounds in that game. His 21 points and 10 rebounds in a 106-100 win over lowly Minnesota on Monday night gave him a franchise-record 44 double-doubles, breaking his won mark.
The Raptors had lost 10 of 12 prior to beating league-worst New Jersey 100-90 on Saturday night. Matchups with the NBA’s worst two teams have bought Toronto some time to work out its problems.
“We’re not playing well and we think we’re starting to turn the corner a little bit where we have better focus,” coach Jay Triano said. “I don’t think we’re playing great basketball, but we’re starting to share it a little better.”
The Raptors are vying with four teams for the final few playoff spots in the East. They’re 2 1/2 games ahead of ninth-place Chicago, which is getting healthier and has played well following a 10-game losing streak.
A tough schedule may not help matters. Toronto’s next three opponents are Denver, Miami and Charlotte.
“We have some tough games coming up and it’s going to be a photo finish to the last day of the season,” Bosh said. “It’s really not going to be established until pretty much the last day. … We have to make sure we dictate our own future instead of losing games and having to look at the scoreboard every night.”