LOS ANGELES — In his 23rd season as the Jazz's bench boss, Jerry Sloan knows all too well that slumps are a way of life in the NBA.
They simply happen — often to the worst of teams, but even on occasion to the best of teams.
"I don't think we're the only team that's ever lost four games in a row," the Jazz coach said.
Even the Lakers, with arguably the best basketball player in the world and coming off of back-to-back NBA championships, have experienced a three-game skid this season.
The troubles Utah is facing might not even qualify as a losing streak in some parts of the NBA.
Isn't that right, Big Al?
Asked if the way the Jazz are playing now and how things aren't clicking remind him of how it was in Minnesota, Al Jefferson shot that theory down quickly.
"No. We've only lost four games in a row," he said. "I have lost 18 in a row, so this is nothing like what I have been through. We're just going through a little bad stretch right now."
For the record, the 27-17 Jazz have already won more games in half a year than any of Jefferson's T-Wolves teams did in three seasons that only included 15, 24 and 22 victories.
ICE PICK WARS: A certain Hall of Fame coach pulled out a classic Sloanism while talking about how he wants players to keep bickering to a minimum and definitely out of the locker room and off of the court.
"It's a matter of seeing who you are as a team," Sloan said. "Are you going to fight back or start a war of words? That's what you usually end up with a lot of times. I told them, basically, if they've got a problem go out in the parking lot with ice picks and see who's going to win that battle."
ELSON DAY-TO-DAY (REPEAT): Francisco Elson underwent an MRI on Sunday, which revealed that he has tendinitis in his left quadriceps muscle. The center, who missed Saturday's game, is considered day-to-day and will be a gametime decision tonight against the Lakers.
Elson warmed up before practice Monday by shooting with Mehmet Okur and assistant coach Tyrone Corbin. After Elson jokingly repeated "day-to-day" multiple times to a reporter's questions, a smiling Memo helped coach him on another injury response.
Okur: "No time on the table."
Elson: "No timetable. Day-to-day. Day-to-day. Day-to-day. Day-to-day."
NOT LIFE-THREATENING: Sloan teased reporters as they bumped into each other while jockeying for prime position around him at his practice interview Monday morning.
"You're all a little desperate today, huh?" he said, laughing. "Running over people in here."
Knowing his team is on a four-game losing streak and with upcoming games against the Los Angeles Lakers (tonight) and San Antonio Spurs (Wednesday), the Jazz coach was asked that same question in return about the Utah Jazz: "Are you a little desperate?"
Sloan's answer might come as a relief to skyscraper security guards.
"No," he said. "I'm not going to jump off of any buildings."
For the record, he's not carrying around an ice pick, either.
Sloan has confidence his team will turn things around eventually.
"I think," he said, "they'll be just fine if they just stick together."
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