Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News
There's been a lot of hubbub about the heat Deron Williams sent Gordon Hayward's way Thursday — the fastball and the scolding. Seeing how that got everyone's attention, here are five other things D-Will should huck a message-sending Spalding at to help the 0-2 Jazz:
1. The nonexistent shooting touch and offense
The Jazz offense has been a mess, with players struggling to make proper cuts, to find the right spots and, simply, to hit shots. From near, far and everywhere between. Utah only averages 91 points on 40.9 percent shooting (23.1 percent on 3s). That's New Jersey bad. Oh wait. The Nets are 2-0. Raja Bell isn't too worried: "The shots will come." The Jazz only hope the makes will start coming soon, too.
2. The nonexistent *efense
How rough has it been for Utah's *efense so far? Put it this way: The Jazz have allowed their two opponents to score more points than Golden State has given up. Both Denver and Phoenix scored 110 points, and there's only been one quarter in which Jazz foes have been under 25. Vanna, give 'em a D.
3. The struggling bench
You could say C.J. Miles has been in a foul mood. And it isn't just because he's missed 7-of-8 shots. Miles is averaging just 14.5 minutes while drawing four whistles per game. Veterans Earl Watson, Ronnie Price and Kyrylo Fesenko have yet to earn their cavalry cards, too. Rookies Jeremy Evans (11 points in his only outing) and Gordon Hayward (7.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.5 bpg, 0.5 message missiles caught per game) have had bright moments. But overall, the bench has contributed just 26 points and not nearly enough spark a night.
4. The lacking effort, energy and enthusiasm
Those missing E's are almost even more disconcerting than the mistakes and mishaps with the X's and O's. Missing shots is one thing. Missing in action is another. The Jazz realize that and want to rectify it. "That's one of the biggest things we've been talking about," Miles said. "Coach has been talking about just the effort stuff. That's the biggest thing. We do (that) and we'll be fine."
5. The entire heading-for-history-books team
The Jazz started 0-2 twice in a row at the end of the Stockton and Malone era. But Utah is in danger of starting the season at 0-3, something that happened in the franchise's inaugural season (1974) but hasn't been duplicated since the team ripped its roots out of New Orleans and relocated to the country's other jazzy hotspot in 1979. The good news is that the new Utah Jazz then won two of three in '79 after going 0-4. That, however, was followed by a 14-game losing streak and a 2-19 start in Utah. In other words, the Jazz don't want history to repeat itself 31 years later.
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