Utah Jazz: Team prepares for 'tough' challenge of Tyreke Evans, Kings
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Jazz coach Jerry Sloan returned to his post with the team on Monday and will be on the bench for tonight's game against the Sacramento Kings.
While away at a family funeral, Sloan watched part of Friday's 94-82 loss but wasn't able to catch the more exciting 103-94 comeback victory at Portland.
"I was just happy they were able to bounce back after the loss they had," Sloan said.
The Jazz coach offered a kind thought about his coaching staff, which helped fill in for him for only the 18th time in his 23 seasons as the Jazz's head coach.
"There was never any doubt about those guys being able to do that," Sloan said. "They do a terrific job and probably (did) much better than I would do."
Sloan returns to coach his team against a Kings' squad that gave the Jazz fits last year, beating Utah 2-1 in the season series.
"We have a tough time playing against this team for whatever reason," Sloan said. "Last year they came in here and beat us, and we had a difficult time matching up against them."
Deron Williams has one of the toughest matchups at the point guard position, going up against the athletic, powerful and big Tyreke Evans. The 6-foot-6, 220-pound second-year standout is averaging 18.9 points, 5.3 assists and 5.0 rebounds as a follow-up to his Rookie of the Year campaign.
"He's just a great player, a great scorer," Williams said of the Memphis product. "He came out of college highly touted and he's just making a name for himself."
Williams also talked about the unique challenge Evans' presents the 6-3, 209-pound strong guard.
"He's one of the tougher guys to guard for me," Williams said, "because he's one of the few guys that's stronger than me. So it's something new for me."
Williams said he "definitely" likes these type of match-ups, though.
"I l like playing against the best players, guarding the best players and he's one of them," Williams said. "He's one of the best guards in the West."
The Jazz are looking to go above .500 at home. Though Utah is 9-5 overall, the Jazz are only 3-3 at EnergySolutions Arena. The Kings are 4-8 but have been decent (2-2) on the road.
"We have to find that concentration a little bit more especially when we're playing at home," Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko said. "On the road you don't need that extra motivation because everything's against you, but at home you feel like a kind of a little relaxed because you're playing at home. It's a bad service sometimes because you feel very, very comfortable but you have to earn it on the floor as well."
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