TV: League Pass
- The Utah Jazz will once again be without starting point guard Mo Williams, who is recovering from a severely sprained right thumb. Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said he considered some lineup changes after Utah’s lackluster loss to the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, but won’t make any for tonight’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers. “We looked at (making changes),” Corbin said. “Coming off the Christmas break, we didn’t play our best game. We’ll see how things go tonight. We may sub a little earlier if we get stagnant again. We’ll look at everything now, especially with Mo being out. We got to get some speed and pace in some kind of way.”
- A lack of speed and pace hindered the Jazz against the Warriors and Orlando Magic in their last two games. They’ve gotten off to slow starts, scoring a combined 37 points in the first quarters of the two contests. The starting lineup will remain the same with Jamaal Tinsley at point guard joining regular starters Randy Foye, Marvin Williams, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson. Corbin said Utah isn’t relying on one player to increase the speed and pace at which the team plays, but that the Jazz will have to do it by committee.
- The Clippers come into tonight’s game as the league’s best and hottest team. They’ve won a franchise-record 15 straight games and are at 23-6 overall. L.A. has won its 15 consecutive games by an average of 16.3 points and 10 of the wins have been in double digits. The Clippers have already set a franchise record for most wins in a month and it’s the first time in franchise history that they’ve had the best winning percentage/record in the league more than 15 games into the season. So far, L.A is handling its success professionally. “It’s just a start,” said Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro. “We have a long way to go and we want to just continue to improve throughout the season and be the best when it counts down the stretch.”
- Tonight’s game in some ways looks like a mismatch with how well the Clippers are playing and how badly the Jazz, who have lost five of their last seven, are struggling. But a couple of things to consider: L.A. is playing its third game in four nights, and the Jazz led the Clippers by 14 points when the two teams played here on Dec. 3 before Chris Paul took over in the fourth quarter and Los Angeles prevailed, 105-104. “I thought we controlled the tempo,” Corbin said of the first meeting of the season between the two teams. “I thought our effort and our focus was good. We paid attention to the details of where we wanted to keep guys from getting and we did a good job there.”
– Andrew Aragon