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News » Nuggets-Jazz Preview


Nuggets-Jazz Preview


Nuggets-Jazz Preview
The Utah Jazz have gotten little production from Andrei Kirilenko in recent home games. That hasn't stopped them from continuing their dominance at EnergySolutions Arena.

With Kirilenko expected to miss his third straight contest, the Jazz look to extend a 17-game home winning streak as they face the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night.

Kirilenko sat out Utah's 126-118 win over Phoenix on Friday night due to a strained right hip, and is doubtful for Saturday's game. The veteran forward was injured Monday when he was flagrantly fouled by Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki, who was suspended one game for the play.

Kirilenko is one of the Jazz's best all-around players, averaging 11.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.6 blocks. But he has done little in Utah's last three home games, missing a win over Minnesota on Wednesday because of his injury and scoring four points in each of the previous two contests at EnergySolutions Arena.

His decreased productivity, however, has done little to derail Utah. The Jazz have won 17 straight at EnergySolutions Arena, two shy of tying the team record.

The last time Utah won this many home games in a row was its 19-game run in 1996, when EnergySolutions Arena was still the Delta Center. The Jazz are 27-3 at home and haven't lost there since a 104-98 defeat to league-best Boston on Dec. 29.

Utah has won four straight overall, averaging 115.0 points and shooting 54.4 percent in that span.

Carlos Boozer scored 17 of his 23 points in the second half, including a tough 8-foot bank shot with 31.1 seconds to play versus the Suns. Boozer is averaging 21.5 points, but was held to eight in Utah's 118-115 overtime win over Denver on Feb. 6, giving each team one win in the season series.

Deron Williams had 29 points and 11 assists in that game for the Jazz. The third-year point guard is averaging 23.3 points and 12.5 assists while shooting 91.7 percent (22-for-24) from the foul line in his last six games versus the Nuggets.

Allen Iverson, meanwhile, had 34 points and 10 assists for Denver (37-24) in February's matchup with Utah. He keyed one of the Nuggets' biggest wins of the season Friday, finishing with 29 points as Denver snapped San Antonio's 11-game winning streak with a 109-96 victory.

Iverson added nine assists and shot 10-for-16 despite spraining his right ring finger in the first half.

The Nuggets, on the fringe of the wild Western Conference playoff picture, have won consecutive games and four of five. They are one game behind Golden State for the eighth and final playoff spot in the conference. The Warriors visit Southeast Division-leading Orlando on Saturday night.

"We understand that every night we have to come in here and play hard and play together and not take any possessions off," Iverson said. "We know how serious it is in the West, and if we don't get our act together it's going to be a chance we're not going to be in the playoffs.

"And with our roster ... there's no way we shouldn't be in the playoffs."


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 8, 2008

 

 
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