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- The Utah Jazz may be offering a glimpse at their future starting frontcourt tonight. Al Jefferson (sprained left ankle) and Paul Millsap (sprained left ankle) are both out with injuries. In their starting places will be second-year center Enes Kanter and third-year power forward Derrick Favors. “We’re excited for them to get minutes on the floor and see what they can do,” Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said of Kanter and Favors. “They’ve been working extremely hard all year for this opportunity.”
- Corbin said he is more looking at tonight’s game as an opportunity for Kanter and Favors rather than dwell on the absences of Jefferson and Millsap. While Jazz fans are certainly looking at tonight’s game as what to expect from a future starting lineup, Corbin is just looking at tonight. “Whenever that is,” Corbin said of a permanent starting lineup featuring his young bigs. “We are where we are now. These guys (Millsap and Jefferson) have worked their way into starting roles. They get to start. I’m excited to see them (Favors and Kanter) respond. Just play the game, get past the anxiety and expectations of whatever that is.”
- Jazz reserve DeMarre Carroll, who almost always gives Utah instant energy off the bench, was listed as a game-time decision because of a left knee bone bruise and patellar tendinitis. He will play, and the Jazz, who have lost three straight games, will need him while being so short-handed.
- Charlotte, which has lost four straight, enters the game with clean bill of health. The Bobcats are just 6-39 since starting the year 7-5. One bright spot, however, has been the play of Gerald Henderson. He scored a season-high tying 24 points against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday, and is averaging 16 points in his last 12 games. “We’ll keep riding the hot hand,” said coach Mike Dunlap. “We’ll see what the trends are, and if we’re getting good shots.”
– Andrew Aragon