Utah Jazz: Team adamant it hasn't quit

Published: Sunday, March 13 2011 10:00 p.m. MDT

So, then, does the blame fall on the coaching staff? Ownership? Management? Sloan? Bush or Obama? Everybody?

C.J. Miles recently blamed the players, not the team's new head coach. Corbin did inherit a team experiencing turmoil even before the surprising departures of Sloan and Williams, and he has several new pieces to work into the puzzle.

Unprompted, Jefferson also came to Corbin's defense Saturday.

"I just don't understand it. It's up to us to do it because we're the one out there playing," Jefferson said. "Coach is doing a great job teaching us and coaching us, but at the end of the day we're the one have to go out there and do it and we're not doing it for him."

Jefferson believes getting his low-post sidekick back will help immensely. But power forward Paul Millsap has missed three games with a nagging left knee injury, and the painful tendinitis doesn't seem to be easing up for him.

"I can't wait to get Paul back. I want him to come 100 percent," Jefferson said. "The heart that he got—huge. He came out there and on a hurt leg, he have done it before. If we can get him back 100 percent ready to play and get everybody back clicking like we was, I really think we have a chance to do it."

Two games — which is what eighth-place Memphis has on Utah — certainly isn't an insurmountable margin to overcome with 15 games remaining. That's especially true seeing as the Grizzlies and Jazz have an increasingly important showdown next Monday.

But Phoenix is also ahead of Utah in the playoff positioning, and the Jazz have less than a month to sort things out.

"You can say (I'm surprised) how bad we're playing and we've still got a chance to make the playoffs," Jefferson said. "But we've just got to get it together before that. That window of opportunity is getting smaller and smaller. Two weeks from now we can't say that we've got to turn it on. We've got to have it turned on by then."

Anxious fans who've been through a rough roller-coaster ride of a season with so many losses (personnel and games) hope that begins tonight at home against Philadelphia.

"We're definitely not giving up. We will try hard as much as possible," Kirilenko said. "We have to grind for every win, for every game. We can't look forward right now, just take every game like it's the most important game."

Not a pretty sight

After a win over Cleveland on Jan 14, the Jazz stood at 27-13, but are just 7-20 since then. Here are the worst records in the NBA since that date:

Team ... Record

Cleveland ... 4-22

Toronto ... 5-22

Washington ... 6-21

Sacramento ... 6-21

Minneosta ... 7-21

Utah ... 7-20

Detroit ... 10-18

e-mail: jody@desnews.com

Twitter: DJJazzyJody

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