10:30 PM ET, April 2, 2010
STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
The Jazz have more games on ESPN than any other team in the league for the rest of the season. Unlike Wednesday’s game against the Bakersfield Jam North, tonight’s game should be spectacular. The Lakers are on a bit of a slide and will be looking to get things right at home. The Jazz are playing with confidence and should be looking to prove they can challenge the Lakers heading into the playoffs.
It counts the same in the standings as the game against Indiana, or each of the losses to Minnesota, but tonight’s game will go a long way toward telling us if the Jazz are legit contenders. While we wait for game time, here are some things to chew on, courtesy of ESPN’s Peter D. Newmann and the Elias Sports Bureau:
- The Jazz registered their 50th win of the season with their victory over Golden State on Wednesday night. Since Jerry Sloan took over as the team’s head coach on December 9, 1988, the Jazz have won 50-or-more games in a season 14 times (Sloan was responsible for 40 of the team’s 50 wins in his first season with the club). Only three teams in the league have won at least 50 games in a season as many times as Utah over that span: San Antonio (16 with a possibility for 17th this season); Phoenix (14 with a possibility for 15th this season) and the Lakers (14).
- Deron Williams has led or tied for the team lead in assists in each of the last 34 games he has appeared in. That is the second longest current streak in the league behind Rajon Rondo (64).
- Williams has registered more than 10 assists in each of his last seven games. That is tied for the second longest such streak of his career. Williams recorded more than 10 assists in nine straight games in 2008 and in seven straight in 2008.
- Williams has recorded an assist on 217 of Carlos Boozer’s field-goal this season. Only one player has assisted on a particular teammates baskets more times than Williams has for Boozer: Steve Nash (249 assists on Amar’e Stoudemire baskets).
- Kobe Bryant has scored 1,177 points against Utah during the regular season. Only one player has scored more points against a Jerry Sloan coached team than Bryant: Hakeem Olajuwon (1,216).
- Pau Gasol is shooting .883 from the free-throw line at home and has a .719 free-throw percentage on the road this season. That 164 percentage point differential in home and road free-throw percentage is the largest in the league this season (minimum: 75 FTA at home and on the road). Utah’s Mehmet Okur is fourth on the list (.877 on the road, .752 at home; .125 differential), behind Gasol, Roy Hibbert (.142 differential) and Andrew Bogut (.138 differential).
- Derek Fisher has appeared in each of the Lakers 75 games played this season. At the age of 35, Fisher is the oldest of the 45 players who have appeared in every game this season.
- Fisher played 82 games under Jerry Sloan as a member of the Jazz in 2006-07. Only four other players have appeared in at least 40 games for both of these head coaching legends: Greg Foster, Bob Hansen, Karl Malone and Bryon Russell.
- The Lakers have not allowed an individual player to score 40 points against them in each of their last 124 games. That is the longest current streak in the league. The last player to score 40 points in a game against the Lakers was David West on January 6, 2009.
- The Jazz have scored 100-or-more points in each of their last 11 games. That is the longest current streak of its kind in the league.
- Jerry Sloan has a 20-35 (.364) career record with Phil Jackson as the opposing head coach during the regular season. That is Sloan’s second lowest career winning percentage against any head coach he has faced at least 20 times (19-34, .358 vs. Gregg Popovich).
- The Lakers have won each of their last 33 home games in which they have had a lead entering the fourth quarter. That is the second longest current streak in the league (Denver: 46 straight).