Utah Jazz notebook: Jazz in the middle of tough home-game stretch
SALT LAKE CITY — Remember that brutal-looking road swing the Utah Jazz had last month?
The one with four games in five days, including three outings in four nights against Eastern Conference contenders?
Consider this week its little brother.
Though the Jazz's current portion of the schedule only includes one road game, they play host to two teams who have a bone to pick with them in suddenly hot Miami and consistently good Orlando on Wednesday and Friday, respectively.
The Heat blew a 22-point lead in an overtime loss to the Jazz four weeks ago. The next night, the Magic squandered an 18-point advantage against Utah's Comeback Crew. And both games were in Florida.
"Miami and Orlando are trying to get some payback," Jazz center Al Jefferson said. "So we know they're going to come in with their focus hat on, so we just want to match their energy and try to come out with a win."
Utah follows those games against the focus-hat-sporting squads by traveling to Dallas on Saturday night. Considering Orlando is the opponent the previous night and Utah has to travel clear to Texas that night/early morning, it's as tough of a back-to-back as you'll find on any schedule.
That three-game challenge is book-ended by Monday's tougher-than-expected game against Memphis and a rematch next Monday with Golden State, which has already beaten Utah.
If you're counting, that's five games in eight days.
"That's a fun week," Jefferson said.
"It's a tough week," Jazz power forward Paul Millsap added. "But we had a week like this prior a few weeks ago. We're ready for it."
That certainly proved to be the case when the Jazz played this schedule's older brother, beating him up 4-0 in dramatic fashion.
OKUR REHAB: Jazz center Mehmet Okur returned to the Peak Performance Project sports training facility in Santa Barbara, Calif., on Monday.
This is Okur's third trip to P3 since having his ruptured left Achilles' tendon surgically repaired seven months ago.
The Jazz did not divulge how long the 6-foot-11 center will spend at the performance lab to rehab his leg. He has been practicing with the team recently, but his return to NBA action also remains uncertain.
HE SAID IT: Deron Williams was asked Monday what he did the two days following Friday's blowout loss to Dallas. His pastor and coach had to like the point guard's answer.
"Practice and go to church," he replied.
BUST A MOVE: Jazz coach Jerry Sloan offered insight into what he'd like to see his team do when opponents switch to a zone defense.
"Score," Sloan deadpanned.
That's not the only thing he wants his zoned players to do, of course.
Added Sloan: "You like to see them move. … You like to have ball movement, man movement."
He was discouraged by a string of turnovers the Jazz committed against the Mavericks' zone on Friday.
"When you're throwing the ball away, that's movement," Sloan said. "(But) it's the wrong direction."
THE OTHER ONE: On Monday, the Jazz faced the Gasol who wasn't considered to be the gift in the oft-maligned Lakers-Grizzlies trade of 2008. But Pau's big little brother, 7-1 Marc, is making a name for himself even if he hasn't yet surpassed his sibling quite yet.
"You know they're brothers as far as the way they play," Jefferson said. "I just think Pau has just got more experience on the offensive end. The younger brother, to me, is just as good. I think he has a bright future ahead of him."
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