Major Road Issues

The Utah Jazz have struggled on the road this season, losing three of their last four away from Salt Lake City and compiling the worst road record among the NBA's top 14 teams.

Perhaps they'll feel more at home on Friday, when they visit New Orleans - the city where their franchise was founded - for the first time in nearly three years for a game against the Hornets.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made New Orleans –3.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 204.5 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 80% of bets for this game have been placed on New Orleans -3.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

The Jazz (37-21) played their first five seasons in New Orleans during the 1970s and have retained their Big Easy-based name, but they haven't visited since the 2004-05 season.

Utah went 1-3 in New Orleans after the Hornets moved from Charlotte before the 2002-03 season, winning its most recent visit 98-87 on April 8, 2005. The Jazz have played their last four road games against the Hornets in Oklahoma City, New Orleans' secondary home after Hurricane Katrina.

They're just 12-18 on the road this season, including losses in the last few weeks at Minnesota, the Los Angeles Clippers and Sacramento - all of which have losing records. Utah allows 104.6 points per game on the road this season, nearly 10 more than it yields at home.

The Hornets (38-18) have been worse at home this season than on the road, but they ended a three-game losing streak overall with a 120-103 home win over Phoenix on Thursday, as David West had 27 points while Chris Paul added 25 and 15 assists.

New Orleans had averaged just 87.0 points during the skid, but the Hornets shot 53.3 percent on Thursday, as Jannero Pargo added 22 points off the bench and Tyson Chandler had his first double-double in five games with 12 points and 15 rebounds.

"Enough is enough," Paul said. "We were on a losing streak and we came out with a different mentality, but we've got to come out with that mentality every night."

During New Orleans' three-game slide, Paul averaged just 7.7 assists, more than three fewer than his season average of 10.8. The Hornets are 29-8 this season when he has at least 10 assists.

Paul has also struggled in his career against Utah, averaging just 13.8 points and 8.1 assists and shooting 37.9 percent in eight career games, as New Orleans has gone 1-7. He struggled with foul trouble and had just six points and six assists in a 110-88 loss in Salt Lake City on Feb. 4, the Hornets' fourth straight loss to the Jazz - all by double digits.

Utah point guard Deron Williams - snubbed in favor of Paul and others for this month's All-Star game in New Orleans - had 29 points and 11 assists in that game. Williams notched his 18th double-double in his last 22 games on Thursday, finishing with 14 points and 14 assists as the Jazz completed a furious comeback to beat Detroit 103-95.

The Jazz trailed by 11 at halftime, but outscored the Pistons 61-42 in the second half as reserve Paul Millsap scored 16 of his 19 points after the break.

"We started competing," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "We didn't compete in the first part of the ballgame."

Mehmet Okur had 24 points, including three key 3-pointers late, while Carlos Boozer had his 40th double-double of the season with 18 points and 15 rebounds.

Boozer has four double-doubles during the four-game winning streak over New Orleans, and is averaging 14.5 rebounds in that span.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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