Jazz-Bobcats Preview


Only once this season have the Utah Jazz won consecutive games on the road.

The Charlotte Bobcats have not won back-to-back contests anywhere in 2011-12.

Looking to win two straight away from home for the first time in almost two months Wednesday night, the Jazz try for a sixth straight victory over a Bobcats team coming off one of its biggest wins of the season.

Al Jefferson had 25 points with 13 rebounds while Gordon Hayward scored a season high-tying 23 off the bench as Utah (18-19) shot 50.0 percent to snap a six-game road skid with a 109-100 win at Cleveland on Monday. Winners in three of four overall, the Jazz are 4-13 on the road, where they have not won consecutive games since Jan. 7-15.

"We needed a big road win," coach Tyrone Corbin said.

Sitting 11th in the Western Conference, Utah hopes Monday's victory is a sign of good things to come on a season-high five-game trip while trying to move back into playoff position.

"This was a game we knew we had to win in order to stay in the playoff hunt," Jefferson said. "We need to keep playing like we played (Monday)."

Corbin is likely to stick with Monday's starting lineup where Hayward was replaced by veteran Raja Bell, who returned after missing six games with a strained left adductor.

"I didn't take it as anything but (Corbin is) trying to get the team wins," said Hayward, who averaged 9.4 points while starting the first 36 games.

Utah has had little trouble while averaging 99.2 points on 48.2 percent shooting during a five-game winning streak against the Bobcats (5-31), who snapped an eight-game home skid with a 100-84 win over Orlando on Tuesday.

The Jazz overcame a 16-point halftime deficit to win their second straight at Charlotte, 96-95 in their last visit Nov. 13, 2010.

Jefferson has averaged 20.0 points in his last four games versus Charlotte.

Teammate Devin Harris, averaging 18.0 points and 6.8 assists in his last five against the Bobcats, is expected to play after he left with a sprained right knee Monday.

The Bobcats should be confident after ending their five-game overall losing streak Tuesday to improve to 3-13 at home. Corey Maggette scored 29 points while rookie Bismack Biyombo added 10 with 15 rebounds to help Charlotte overcome a 20-point first-half deficit.

Averaging an NBA-low 87.1 points, Charlotte has scored at least 100 in consecutive games for the second time and fifth overall this season.

"It just feels good to get a win," Maggette said. "We've been up and down and we're not having a good season - everyone knows that. For our team to play and fight (Tuesday night) was a positive for our team."

Maggette has totaled 53 points in the last two games.

It's uncertain if starting forward Boris Diaw will be in the lineup after he did not play Tuesday amid uncertainty surrounding his future with the Bobcats. Diaw, averaging 7.7 points and 5.6 rebounds, is under contract for $9 million this season, and his agent approached the team about the possibility of a trade or buyout.

What to Read Next