The banged-up Utah Jazz played their worst defensive game of the season in a lopsided loss in their last game. Their next opponent, however, appears to provide the perfect opportunity to get back on track.
The Jazz go for their 12th straight victory over the Toronto Raptors when the teams meet at Air Canada Centre on Wednesday night.
The Jazz (33-31) began their four-game trip with a 131-109 loss to New York on Monday. Utah, 2 1/2 games behind eighth-place Memphis in the Western Conference, allowed 40 first-quarter points and surrendered its highest point total since a 140-139 overtime victory over Oklahoma City on April 6.
“As individuals, as a group, as a franchise, that’s embarrassing the way we came out and played tonight,” coach Tyrone Corbin said. “Even if you lose a game, you can lose with some dignity. I don’t think this loss tonight did anybody any good.”
The Jazz are yielding 106.9 points per game while losing eight of 10 since Corbin took over for Jerry Sloan last month. Utah surrendered 99.6 per contest under Sloan.
The Jazz, however, have been outstanding defensively during their 11-game run against the Raptors, allowing at least 100 points only twice while giving up 92.1 per game. Utah has outscored Toronto by 14.1 points during that span.
Improving on the defensive end Wednesday, though, could prove to be a challenge for the undermanned Jazz, who could be without second-leading rebounder Paul Millsap(notes) (7.8 per game) and Andrei Kirilenko(notes), second on the club with 70 blocks.
Francisco Elson(notes), Kyrylo Fesenko(notes) and Ronnie Price(notes) are sidelined, leaving Corbin with a short bench, but the Jazz should have plenty of confidence going into this matchup. Utah’s 11th consecutive win in the series came by a 125-108 score in Salt Lake City on Nov. 3, and it has taken five in a row in Toronto.
The Jazz won 113-87 in their last visit March 24.
Toronto (17-46) opens a three-game homestand following back-to-back defeats to New Jersey in London over the weekend.
After falling 116-103 on Friday in the NBA’s first regular-season game in Europe, Toronto lost 137-136 in triple-overtime Saturday.
“Even the experience, despite the losses in basketball, has been very positive for us because we’ve had different guys step up and play and we’ve had to go through different situations,” coach Jay Triano said.
“Every game he seems to be getting better,” Triano said of Davis. “There’s a natural progression from him week by week.”
Davis could provide valuable minutes alongside Amir Johnson(notes) and James Johnson(notes) as Toronto looks to contain Al Jefferson(notes). The Jazz big man had a season-high 36 points Monday and is scoring 27.2 per game - 8.8 more than his season average - over the last nine.
Jefferson had 27 points and six rebounds Nov. 3.