Poor Shooting Dooms Nets in Loss to Jazz
Utah 89, New Jersey 78
SALT LAKE CITY, Jan. 23 (Ticker) -- The New Jersey Nets were hoping to start their four-game Western Conference road swing on a positive note. Instead, they struggled to make shots all game.
Vince Carter was held to a season-low five points as the Nets dropped an 89-78 decision to the Utah Jazz.
"That's a tough way to start a trip, but hey it's one of those nights," Nets forward Richard Jefferson said. "Vince goes down with foul trouble, then got a little bit hurt and couldn't get into a rhythm."
"We play through (Carter)," said New Jersey guard Jason Kidd, who was just 3-of-15 from the floor. "He can make tough shots and create his own shot but he was playing with injuries."
New Jersey shot a season-worst 33 percent (25-of-75) and only connected on 2-of-21 3-point attempts.
"We would drive and kick it to guys with wide-open looks but couldn't get anything to fall," added Jefferson, who scored 32 points. "For the most part we played good defense, but you have to be near perfect on the defensive end to have a chance the way we were shooting."
New Jersey came into the game with a 1-7 road record against Western Conference teams, including an 0-3 mark on its last trip that halted a league-best 10-game winning streak.
The Nets seemed to be in rhythm as they scored the game's first six points, but the Jazz responded by outscoring them, 21-8, the rest of the opening quarter. Andrei Kirilenko scored nine points and Gordan Giricek added six of his 14 points during the surge.
"I like that we didn't give up," Kirilenko said. "We stayed with our game and stayed with our execution and we won the game."
Kirilenko added six more in the second quarter, including a three-point play that capped a 12-3 run with 3:39 to go, as Utah took a 40-28 lead into the break. The Russian finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds.
The Jazz lead grew to as many as 19 points in the third period before Jefferson, who was 11-of-20 from the floor, helped the Nets close the gap. Kidd hit a pair of free throws that made it 63-56 with 10:38 remaining.
"Vince is not always going to be healthy, so (Jefferson) did a great job of picking it up," Kidd said.
Despite his shooting woes, Kidd recorded his 70th career triple-double with 17 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.
"I'd rather have the win than the triple-double," Kidd said. "The important thing is to get back to our winning ways on this road trip."
However, Utah put away the game by answering with a 15-4 burst. Devin Brown scored six of his 13 bench points in the run and Mehmet Okur added five.
"They have great post-up players with Kidd and Jefferson," said Okur, who finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds. "Usually we struggle (against them), but we found a way to help each other and I thought we did a good job tonight."