The road out West gets no easier for the Dallas Mavericks: after losing twice in three nights on buzzer-beating three-pointers in LA, they have to take a late-night flight to Salt Lake City for the second night of a back-to-back in one of the toughest arenas in the NBA.
Not only will the high altitude and the boisterous fans, who have been known to impact referees calls, be a factor, but the Utah Jazz are one of the NBA's most surprising teams at 9-4 with a +2.2 point differential.
Utah has gone 7-1 at home this season, with their only loss coming in OT to the LA Lakers.
And while the NBA has become increasingly perimeter-oriented, the departure of Deron Williams has made the Jazz a classic inside-out team, with one of the biggest and deepest front-courts in the NBA: Al Jefferson, Paul Millsapp, Derrick Favors as well as 6'10 rookie Enes Kanter.
Utah's slower pace should play into the hands of the Mavericks, as there's no way an old Dallas team could run up and down the floor 48 minutes after their exhausting two-game stint through LA earlier in the week.
And while Tyson Chandler's departure has dramatically affected Dallas' interior defense, one of Brendan Haywood's main assets is his ability to hold position in the low post and use his 7'6 wingspan to alter shots, especially those coming from slower-footed big men like Jefferson.
The Mavericks will probably be without Vince Carter for the second consecutive night, so they will need their younger guards, Delonte West and Rodrigue Beaubois, to pick up the slack and attack the rim to create open looks for their older veterans.
The 9:30 PM game will be televised nationally on TNT.