Sloan gives up on Giricek in quest for defensive 2-guard

Giri does not play a minute in Utah's fourth straight loss

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 16 2007 12:26 a.m. MST

WASHINGTON — It was just last Friday in Seattle that Jazz coach Jerry Sloan was saying veteran Gordan Giricek would get a good look as Utah's starting shooting guard.

"We'll see how he does," Sloan said then. "I mean, he needs a chance to play ... I've got to see where he is."

By Monday, Sloan evidently had seen enough.

Giricek did not play in Utah's 114-111 loss to the Washington Wizards and was replaced in the starting lineup by the same man — veteran guard Derek Fisher, also the Jazz's backup point — he had briefly replaced.

"Giri struggled with his game," Sloan said in explaining the switch back to Fisher, who helped the Jazz go 10-6 during his first 16-game stint starting. "I looked back and (saw) what (Fisher) was able to do, what our record was with him starting."

The Jazz were 1-3 with Giricek starting, and a three-game losing streak entering Monday's game prompted Sloan to change so quickly.

"I'm not going to sit around and wait for five or six losses and say something," Sloan said. "I've got to get guys' attention to be ready to play, and that's the only thing I know."

The Jazz also have started C.J. Miles (now assigned to Idaho to the D-League) and rookie Ronnie Brewer at shooting guard this season. Utah actually has a better record when either of those two start (a combined 18-4, including 11-1 for Miles) as opposed to Fisher or Giricek.

MEMORIES: Monday's visit to Washington had Sloan reminiscing about his days as an NBA rookie during the 1965-66 season with the Baltimore Bullets, now known as the Wizards.

"We got $8 a day meal money," he said. "I was able to save some of that."

Sloan recalled losing his first game with the Bullets: "I felt bad," he said, "because I was always taught, from an early age, that you play this game to try to win it."

The Jazz coach also remembered how opponents in his day did not fraternize with one another like so many do now.

"I always told (teammates), 'You know, you shouldn't sleep with the enemy,' " he said. "As silly as that sounds, I think there has to be something about it."

Asked if he thought such behavior nowadays has adversely impacted the sport, Sloan said, "It would for me if I had to think I had to go hug and kiss a guy after the game."

GOING FOR GOLD: Jazz forward Carlos Boozer, a member of the United States' 2004 bronze medal-winning Olympic team, claimed Monday to know nothing about a Denver Post report suggesting he'll soon by invited to re-join USA Basketball's national-team program preparing the 2008 Summer Games.

If true, though, he says he's all for it — even if he has to try out this summer.

"Absolutely that's something I'll be interested in," Boozer said. "Anytime you get a chance to represent your country, it's an honor.

"If they do contact me," he added, "I'll tell them the same thing I just told you."

Boozer, who played for current national-team coach Mike Krzyzewski at Duke, suggested he has no bitter feelings after being left off the team last summer.

"When it happened, I told them I hope they bring back the gold," Boozer said. "That's all I care about."

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