While the All-Star break may have come at a good time for the Nets, especially point guard Deron Williams, the Jazz probably wished they could've kept playing.
Prior to the break, Utah had won three straight games, including a win over the two-time defending champion Miami Heat to start that streak. Utah is just 19-33 overall, but they are 12-14 at home and 9-9 against the Eastern Conference this season.
The Nets won the first meeting between the two teams this season, defeating the Jazz in Brooklyn back in November. They're eyeing a season series sweep tonight.
For Deron Williams, it's a return to the arena he called home from 2005 to 2011. Perhaps playing in his old digs will kick start another second-half surge for D-Will.
There are a few other connections between the two teams as well, as Andrei Kirilenko also used to play for the Jazz, and Jazz players Richard Jefferson and Derrick Favors are both former Nets. Favors was part of the Williams trade in 2011.
Utah is led by third-year man Gordon Hayward, who leads the team with 16.3 points per game. He's also put up a very respectable 5.6 rebounds per game and 5.0 assists per game in 47 games.
Rookie guard Trey Burke is also worth keeping an eye on, averaging a 12.5 PPG and a team-high 5.5 APG in 40 games.
Favors, now 22-years-old and in his fourth NBA season, leads the Jazz with 9.0 RPG and is shooting 50.4% from the field.
Key Matchup: It'll be interesting to see how the Nets choose to match up defensively with the 6'8 Hayward, who plays mostly small forward for the Jazz. Often times, Jason Kidd has used 6'7 point guard Shaun Livingston and his length to cover forwards, and he may choose to use Livingston on Hayward primarily tonight.
Player to Watch: All eyes will be on Deron Williams, who will be playing his sixth career game against his former team. Williams is averaging 15.6 PPG and 8.0 APG in five prior matchups, and he'd certainly like to start off the second half with a bang.