Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Jazz big man Derrick Favors will miss his second game in a row tonight against the Portland Trail Blazers because of a sore lower back.
The Jazz power forward hoped he'd feel good enough to play after warm-ups, but he was scratched from the lineup. Forward Marvin Williams has been ruled out for the fourth consecutive game because of inflammation in his right heel.
For the second game in a row, Jeremy Evans will start at power forward and Enes Kanter will begin at center.
The Jazz lost 112-102 to the Sacramento Kings on Saturday night with Favors and Williams out of action. That was the third loss in a row for Utah, which fell to 4-18.
"It was tough. I wanted to be out there with my teammates," Favors said. "Hopefully, I could have made a difference out there, but I had to sit back there in the training room. It was tough."
Favors played in Friday's blowout defeat to the Blazers, who hit 17 3-pointers that night. He didn't specify when asked at what point his back started bothering him.
"Nothing too serious," he said. "Just kind of got tight, stiffened up a little bit, that's it."
Favors said this back issue is not recurring from what happened this summer when he had problems while participating at the Team USA mini-camp in Las Vegas.
The Jazz can use all the help they can get to snap out of their recent funk, especially considering they are going against a Blazers team that's off to a surprisingly good 17-4 start.
Portland's success this season has revolved around the MVP-like play of power forward LaMarcus Aldridge (23.1 ppg, 10.1 rpg). The 6-foot-11 big man was just named the Western Conference Player of the Week.
Having two starting big men out is a blow to Utah's chances to bounce back against the Blazers, who won 130-98 Friday in Portland. Jazz shooting guard Gordon Hayward said the team really needs Favors back on defense.
"You can see the effect he has, especially defensively. He's the anchor down there," Hayward said. "We need him. ...
"Aldridge can score on just about anybody in the league," he added. "Even if we have Fav-o, it’s going to be difficult to just put it all on him and say, 'Stop him.' It will be a team thing stopping him regardless."
Hayward also pointed out that the Jazz need to defend the 3-point line much better. That was an issue Saturday night when rookie Ben McLemore sent the Jazz-Kings game into overtime with an open trey with 3.2 seconds remaining.
And Utah's inept perimeter defense was glaring Friday at the Moda Center when the Blazers hit 17-of-23 deep shots. Former Weber State star Damian Lillard hit five 3-pointers and ex-Jazzman Wesley Matthews drained four long balls in that blowout.
"Obviously, we’re going to have to contest threes a little bit better," Hayward said. "We can’t let that happen again. You’re not going to win basketball games when they shoot the way they did from three. We have to be better at that."
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