The Charlotte Bobcats didn’t get off to a good start on their four-game West Coast road trip Tuesday. The Bobcats fell victim to Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Clippers in another blowout loss. Charlotte has now lost four in a row and will head to Utah Friday to face the Jazz.
The Jazz are 31-27 and quietly sit in the seventh seed in the Western Conference. Utah is one of those teams nobody ever talks about, but despite an injury to Mo Williams, the team remains in the middle of a playoff hunt. The Jazz are anchored by their starting frontcourt of Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson.
The duo dismantled the Bobcats in their visit to Charlotte, led by 26 points and eight rebounds from Jefferson.
Jefferson, who becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer, was the subject of trade rumors before the deadline. Rumors circulated that Jefferson is looking for a max-level contract, and the Jazz don’t intend on re-signing their starting center. Nonetheless, Jefferson has continued to produce at a big rate for the Jazz, who are trying to hold on to their playoff spot out West.
The Bobcats will have a tough task on their hands of keeping Utah’s frontcourt in check. The team was unable to do so in their last meeting and the Bobcats didn’t get much production from their frontcourt. With Byron Mullens return, the Bobcats might be able to get a lot more scoring tomorrow night to even things out, but will definitely need an active night on the glass and defensively from Bismack Biyombo.
Aside from the bigs, another thing to keep a watch for tomorrow will be Ben Gordon. Gordon’s had two DNP’s in the past three games after a dispute with head coach Mike Dunlap. He joints Tyrus Thomas and Gana Diop as player who aren’t getting any burn right now.
Gordon, the highest paid player on the Bobcats, is shooting 42% from the field and 41% from three this season. Dunlap has implied that he’s trying to give more playing time to the younger Jeff Taylor. Gordon’s situation is one of the lone storylines left on a Bobcats team whose season is in the pits right now. It likely could lead to him being traded in the offseason. Regardless, Gordon is a player who could help the team’s chances of winning remaining games and being competitive, so it’d be nice to see him get some burn.
With Mo Williams out with an injury, the Jazz are going with Earl Watson as the starting point guard. Watson could be easy pickings for Kemba Walker, who’s started to find his stroke from distance lately.
Utah is no joke of an opponent, as the Bobcats found out earlier in the season. While this game might be more winnable than the Clippers game, Utah is just as capable of running the Bobcats off the floor. Salt Lake City is one of the toughest environments in the NBA, as the fans really get behind their Jazz. It’s going to be another tough road outing for the Bobcats as they look to snap yet another losing streak.