Utah Jazz notebook: Banged-up Deron Williams struggling from field
SALT LAKE CITY — Since his sharp shooting night against Oklahoma City, Deron Williams' shot has been a bit off.
In the four games following his 31-point outing on 12-for-18 shooting vs. the Thunder, Williams has only connected on 19-of-59 field-goal attempts.
The All-Star point guard has also been a bit banged up, recently dealing with a strained calf and being a game-time decision this past Saturday with a sore right foot.
Don't expect excuses or injury insight from Williams — or his coach, for that matter.
"I just don't like talking about my injuries," Williams said earlier this week. "One, I don't like the opponents to know what's hurting, what's bothering me, so they can't go at me.
"And two," he added, "there is no reason. It doesn't change anything. I can talk about them all I want and they're still going to be there."
Sloan doesn't harp on players whose accuracy is slumping a bit. The coach doesn't want to embarrass guys or make them feel bad, and he figures they know how many shots they've hit and missed.
So he won't talk to Williams about his recent 32.2 percent shooting.
"I think every player goes through stages where their shot doesn't fall for them," Sloan said. "You just have to stay with it and work on it."
Sloan isn't sure whether Williams' health issues or his lack of rest (he averages 38.8 minutes) are affecting his play.
"A guy puts his uniform on," Sloan said, "I expect him to play."
The coach added that he doesn't hold it against a player if he is too injured to play. But sometimes, Sloan added, "you have to work through tough times, just like everyday life."
NOT AGAIN: It's a widespread fact that Williams has an 11-3 record in head-to-head games against point guard Chris Paul. But the Jazz playmaker would prefer if everybody spared him the comparison and who's-better questions in regards to the Hornets' star.
"I think there's a load of great point guards in this NBA right now," Williams said. "We have a long time to decide and debate who's the best."
MILES SMILE: C.J. Miles' 3-point shooting spree Saturday had him and his teammates smiling in Portland, but his grin was almost minus one tooth. Rudy Fernandez caught him in the mouth with an elbow, knocking one of Miles' teeth loose.
It was a tooth that had been knocked loose before, and Miles just pushed it back in.
To avoid another tooth-rattling incident, Miles was fitted for a mouthpiece that he wore Monday against Sacramento. He said he doesn't mind wearing it at all, and had it for practice Tuesday.
BAD MEMORIES: Miles has his own good reason for not wanting to sit out, which explains why he's played through various nagging injuries, including a "jammed" ankle and a strained lower back.
"Anytime I'm not in my uniform," he said, "I have flashbacks from my first two-and-a-half years, and sitting behind the bench, and I get mad. So I can't do it."
SNOWED OUT: The 10-5 Jazz will take on the 11-2 Hornets tonight without the benefit of its usual morning shootaround.
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