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- Both teams are short-handed for tonight’s rematch of Friday’s 86-77 Jazz victory at Salt Lake City.
- Portland could be without starting shooting guard Wesley Matthews (ankle), who is a game-time decision, and will definitely be without reserve point guard Ronnie Price (ankle) and reserve forward Sasha Pavlovic (foot). And starting small forward Nicolas Batum continues to struggle with a sore right hand that affects his shooting motion.
- Utah will be minus starting point guard Mo Williams (hand), reserve point guard Earl Watson (knee) and reserve forward Gordon Hayward (shoulder).
- Both coaches — Terry Stotts of Portland and Tyrone Corbin of Utah — had the same comment on injuries: “It’s that time of year.”
- Little-used rookie Victor Claver, a natural 6-10 small forward, will start if Matthews is unable to play. Claver, shooting .305 from the field and averaging 2.1 points, would bump Batum to shooting guard. Claver started six games when Matthews was injured in December.
- Corbin said Hayward is day-to-day and that Williams — who underwent surgery on his hand on Jan. 7 — will see the surgeon on Feb. 15 to check the healing process and decide whether or not the pin can be removed.
- The second of back-to-back games would seem to benefit Portland in this case, with the Blazers having lost the first one and getting the Jazz tonight at home. “It’s an advantage to be at home, but it’s zero-zero,” Stotts said. “What happened last night is in the past. (the Jazz) are looking at an opportunity to sweep the second end of back-to-backs. We play well at home; hopefully we’ll carry through with that.”
- Portland went small through much of the second half Friday night. Corbin was asked if he might go to a three-guard lineup tonight. “Do I have three guards?” he asked, laughing. “We’ll go with our usual lineup and make adjustments when we have to. It’s still about keeping them away from transition, winning the boards and making sure they don’t hurt us from the 3-point line.”
- Portland shot .367 and scored a season-low in points Friday night. “We had some good looks, but (the Jazz) do a very good job of packing the paint,” Stotts said. “We have to do a better job in executing, but the main thing I want to do is try to run more. We played at their pace. At home, we’ll have a better chance of (running).”
- The Jazz have won nine of 11 since Williams left the lineup. Could they have handled his absence any better? “If we’d won 11 in a row,” Corbin said, laughing again. “All things considered, the guys are doing great. You can’t question their character. They’ve continued to fight.”
– Kerry Eggers