The Utah Jazz aren't in the best spot in the Western Conference standings, but they know how to play from behind.
Now they'll have to show they can play with a distraction after the recent arrest of assistant coach Sidney Lowe.
Back from the All-Star break, Utah goes for a third consecutive victory on Tuesday night when the Golden State Warriors try to avoid a sixth straight loss with its first two-game season sweep in Salt Lake City since 1980-81.
After losing two straight, Utah (30-24) ended the first half with a 109-94 victory over Northwest Division-leading Oklahoma City last Tuesday and a 97-93 road win over Minnesota a day later when it overcame a 10-point second-quarter deficit.
The Jazz, the NBA leader with 13 wins in games they've trailed by double-digits, could move into a virtual tie with the Warriors (30-22) for sixth place in the West if they record their first 3-0 stretch since a four-game surge from Jan. 12-23.
Utah's focus should be on winning for the 12th time in 14 home games, but the team was answering questions about Lowe on Monday after he was arrested earlier in the day for failing to file his North Carolina state income taxes during his last three years (2009-11) coaching North Carolina State.
"It's a personal matter,' said coach Tyrone Corbin, who added that Lowe will be with the team on Tuesday after missing Monday's practice. "We'll deal with it."
On the court, the Jazz will face a Golden State team that's lost by an average of 18.4 points during its longest skid since an eight-game slide spanning April 9-21.
"We're not there yet. We're not where we think we are,' center Andrew Bogut said after last Tuesday's 116-107 loss to Houston. "I think we thought we were maybe a little better than we were.'
The Warriors need to improve defensively or they could soon find themselves out of the playoff picture. They're giving up 118.0 points per game during their skid after allowing an average of 96.8 in its previous four, all wins.
"I thought for 48 minutes we didn't defend our brand, so it's been consistent with what we've done the last four games,' coach Mark Jackson said last Tuesday.
Wins in Salt Lake City have been hard to come by for Golden State - it has lost 49 of 60 there, including the playoffs, since the 1987-88 season - but the Warriors won 94-83 in their last visit on Dec. 26.
Utah's 38.6 shooting percentage in that game was its worst at home all season.
Defensively, the Jazz backcourt of Jamaal Tinsley and Randy Foye will have to do a better job on Stephen Curry, who scored Golden State's first 11 points on Dec. 26 en route a team-best 23.
Curry, who is second in the league with 149 3-pointers, failed to advance to the final round of the 3-point contest during All-Star weekend.
Warriors All-Star forward David Lee, who finished with six points and two boards in the West's 143-138 victory on Sunday, has a league-best 33 double-doubles. He had 18 points and nine boards on Dec. 26.
Jefferson had 18 points and 10 rebounds in that contest, while Paul Millsap added 14 and seven.
Gordon Hayward (sprained right shoulder) is expected to miss an 11th straight game for Utah.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved