The Utah Jazz have appeared to recapture the defensive form that keyed their recent dominance in Salt Lake City.
That's not exactly a good sign for the Sacramento Kings, who have sputtered offensively on their current road trip.
Utah will try for its ninth home win in 10 games Monday night when it takes on a Sacramento team that has one of the worst road records in the NBA.
While the Jazz (26-22) have lost both road games during a current stretch with 10 of 12 in Salt Lake City, they've won six of those first seven in Utah.
Utah has been far better at home defensively, limiting Portland to 36.7 percent shooting in an 86-77 win on Friday before allowing the Trail Blazers to shoot 50.7 percent in a 105-99 road loss a day later.
Aside from a franchise-record 45-point loss to Houston on Jan. 28, the Jazz have allowed just 93.4 points on 43.2 percent shooting in their last eight home games.
Utah, however, has given up 99.8 points per game and 50.8 percent shooting in its last 11 on the road.
"We're getting better at being active and understanding some of our rotations on the weak side," coach Tyrone Corbin said.
The Jazz will try to continue their winning ways at home against the punchless Kings, who have averaged 80.7 points on 39.7 percent shooting while losing three straight on their current six-game swing.
Sacramento (17-32) is 5-20 on the road, but has given the Jazz a tough time lately. The Kings have taken four of the last seven meetings, winning 108-97 at home Nov. 24.
They also had a 13-point fourth-quarter lead at Utah a day earlier before Gordon Hayward hit a tiebreaking jumper with 4.5 seconds left to give the Jazz a 104-102 win.
Tyreke Evans has scored 23.7 per game while shooting 52.7 percent in his last three against the Jazz, including a 27-point effort in the last meeting.
Evans, however, looks to bounce back after finishing with seven points on 3-of-10 shooting in a 120-81 loss at New York on Saturday.
"I missed a lot of layups," Evans said. "One of those nights. I think it was the worst game I ever played in the NBA."
Leading scorer DeMarcus Cousins broke out of his recent slump with 25 points and nine rebounds against the Knicks. He had averaged 11.5 points over his previous six games.
Although they've struggled lately, the Kings has shot a combined 51.9 percent from the floor and 16 for 33 (48.5 percent) from 3-point range in the two meetings with the Jazz.
Utah, meanwhile, hopes forward Paul Millsap can continue to provide a spark after averaging 19.3 points in his last three games. Millsap, though, has scored 9.2 per game in his last six against the Kings.
Randy Foye has reached double figures in a season-high eight straight games, averaging 14.9 points while shooting 41.5 percent from 3-point range during that stretch.
That's helped Utah recover from the loss of Hayward (13.5 ppg), who is expected to miss a fifth straight game due to a shoulder injury.
After making 39.6 percent from the field in their last three games in the series, the Jazz look for better efficiency against a Sacramento team that has allowed 106.0 points per game and 50.2 percent shooting while dropping seven of its last eight overall.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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