SALT LAKE CITY — Even in the immediate aftermath of their double-digit loss to Dallas on Friday night, point guard Deron Williams was feeling good about the Jazz.
"We're still one of the best teams," Williams said shortly after 15-6 Utah's seven-game win streak had come to a close.
On Saturday, Williams still was standing his ground — suggesting that not too much should be read into the single ESPN-televised loss.
"We won seven games in a row and we lost one," the All-Star point said prior to practice. "We're gonna have to lose again."
Yet there's something of a theme, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan indicated Saturday, in the two losses that bookend that seven-game streak — Friday's to Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs, and a Nov. 19 defeat at the hands of Tim Duncan, Tony Paker and the San Antonio Spurs.
And it's not just that they happen to be losses to two of the NBA's elite teams.
"We had our moments (Friday)," said Sloan, whose team was hurt most by an 11-0 Dallas run to open the fourth quarter. "But we got beat in the second half. We lost to San Antonio, then we lost to these guys (the Mavericks), pretty much in the second half.
"They (Mavs) came out and got after us, as did San Antonio. They blistered us a little bit. They got after us and knocked us around, made it tough for us to get any kind of decent shots."
Moreover, Sloan added, "we were still playing a little bit confused as to what's going on against the zone."
It's something the Jazz coach hopes his club can overcome as a six-game homestand comes to a close with visits from Memphis on Monday night, Miami on Wednesday and Orlando on Friday before a return visit to Dallas on Saturday.
"We had some miscues (Friday) — threw the ball away, and things like that," Sloan said. "We have to come back and see how strong we are. That's always a concern. Who are we? We haven't had that experience with a lot of these guys.
"We just have to keep playing, and hopefully guys stay together and that sort of thing," he added. "If we start having problems that way, then it's tough to win."
Especially with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade visiting mid-week, followed by Dwight Howard.
Not that Sloan is worrying about that coming reality just yet.
"The biggest game we've got is Monday," he said. "That's the one we have to be concerned about."5 comments on this story
It is, especially with the Jazz — in Williams' words — having learned Friday that they need to "play better."
In what regard?
"Every regard," Williams said not once, not twice, but three times before walking away without offering any specifics.