Western Notes: Jazz, Lewis Jr., Oladipo, Kings

Despite opening the season with a red-hot start, the first-place Jazz aren’t satisfied with their situation and remain fully focused on winning the championship, Mark Medina of USA TODAY writes.

Utah owns the best record in the league at 21-5, having won six straight contests entering Saturday’s game against Miami. Prior to this, the team enjoyed an 11-game win streak and now has just one loss in its last 18 games. Outside of a tough road loss in Denver on January 31, the team hasn’t lost in over a month.

“We’re not going to put too much emphasis on it,” guard Donovan Mitchell said, as relayed by Medina. “It’s not like we’re saying this is a make-or-break stretch for us. We’re not playing to be ready by February. We’re playing to be ready in April, May, June, July, whatever. That’s when we want to have our best product.”

There’s more from the Western Conference today:

  • Christian Clark of NOLA.com examines how Pelicans rookie Kira Lewis Jr. is hurting opposing teams with his unique speed. Lewis, whose mother was also a college sprinter, is recognized as one of the quickest guards in the league. He was the No. 13 overall pick in the draft last year. “When I come in, I’m looking to push the pace, get into the paint, make the defense collapse and just make the right read,” Lewis said.
  • Rockets guard Victor Oladipo has been ruled out of the team’s game against New York on Saturday, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes. The team is listing him as out with a right foot strain, though the exact severity remains unclear. Oladipo has mostly struggled since joining Houston, averaging 18.4 points on 39% shooting from the floor and 30% from deep.
  • James Ham of NBC Sports examines why the Kings shouldn’t trade Harrison Barnes despite teams being interested in the 28-year-old. Barnes, in his ninth NBA season, is averaging 16.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game in 25 contests.
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