Nets look to halt home losing streak against Jazz
Meanwhile, the Utah Jazz hope a slow start does not begin catching up with them.
The Nets get a chance at halting a five-game home losing streak Wednesday night when they host the slumping Jazz.
On Friday the Nets began a stretch of 13 out of 17 games at home by taking a 112-102 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Two days later the Nets led by 20 only to lose 127-125 to the Philadelphia 76ers on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Jimmy Butler.
Butler’s game-winner dropped the Nets to 8-13 and 3-6 at home where they last won on Nov. 4 against Philadelphia.
It also negated standout performances by Russell and Dinwiddie, who are not in the starting lineup together but were on the floor for about 15 minutes Sunday.
Russell scored a season-high 38 points, two off his career high. Dinwiddie matched a career-best by getting 31 and the backcourt duo became the first Nets to get 30 points in the same game since Deron Williams and Brook Lopez on April 3, 2015, against Toronto.
It also leads some to wonder if Dinwiddie and Russell will start alongside each other, but as of now coach Kenny Atkinson is planning on maintaining the same alignment.
“How much we use them together is just going to be a game-to-game thing and figure that out,” Atkinson told reporters at practice Monday. “I do think when you look at it they are together at the end of the game a lot, they’re out there. We’ve got both of those guys handling the ball.
“I see great symmetry there, they’re talking and they’re figuring out what we want to run and it’s really good.”
Despite Russell and Dinwiddie creating effective cohesion, the Nets are 2-5 since losing Caris LeVert to a dislocated left foot on Nov. 12. The reason is not necessarily on the offensive end but more on the defensive side.
The Nets are allowing 111 points per game overall on 46.3 percent shooting and since losing LeVert they are giving up 114.4 points and 121 points in the four home games they played against Miami, the Los Angeles Clippers, Minnesota and Philadelphia.
“That disparity is the reason we don’t have two or three more wins,” Atkinson told reporters a day after the Nets allowed at least 120 points for the sixth time. “We only talked about defense today. From the first day of training camp, that’s been our emphasis. I’m a little frustrated we’re not doing better there. We’ve definitely identified that as a problem.”
Utah enters the game with six losses in its last eight games after absorbing a 121-88 home loss to the Indiana Pacers on Monday. The Jazz are 9-12 and while they started 19-28 last season before rebounding the make the postseason, they hope the turnaround occurs much quicker.
“We can’t wait until we’re 19-and-whatever-the-hell-we-were last year to decide to wake up and start playing. We’ve got an opportunity to do it early and now,” Joe Ingles said.
During this skid, Utah is allowing 110 points and opponents to shoot 50 percent and offensively the Jazz are averaging 97.6 points, shooting 43.6 percent while averaging 17 turnovers.
“We all expect more from ourselves,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “Our guys are competing. They care. We have to keep working. “
The Jazz will attempt to begin a turnaround while Donovan Mitchell is recovering from a rib injury. He missed a second straight game after getting injured in Friday’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers and a decision on his status will likely be made sometime on Wednesday.
With or without Mitchell, who is Utah’s leading scorer at 20.6 points, the Jazz will hope to get more from their offense after shooting 42 percent and being held under 100 points for the fourth time in this slide and sixth overall.
If Mitchell does not play, Royce O’Neale will likely start in his place. O’Neale started the last two games alongside Ricky Rubio, who scored 27 Sunday in Sacramento but was held to six Monday.
The Jazz will also hope Rudy Gobert can become the latest big man to get a big game against Brooklyn. Gobert has 18 double-doubles this season and Brooklyn has allowed a double-double to opposing starting centers in 12 games.
Utah is 14-5 in the last 19 meetings, though the teams split the season series last season.