SALT LAKE CITY — Ten teams are playing a quintupleheader today as the NBA tips off the 2011-12 season, but the Utah Jazz are getting a different Christmas present.
A day off.
"The league rule is mandatory. They have to have a day off, but they do deserve it," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "They've been going pretty hard and we haven't really had a day off since we started (Dec. 9)."
Both of Corbin's children, daughter Tyjha and son Tyrell, are home for a quick holiday break.
The Jazz coach drove to Cedar City on Thursday to watch Utah's reigning Mr. Basketball, Tyrell, play with UC Davis at Southern Utah University.
Christmas Day will be a rare combined day off for them, especially considering the crazy upcoming NBA schedule and the demands of being a college athlete.
"I never got Christmas (at) home when I was in college," the DePaul alum said, jokingly.
Rookie Alec Burks has his older brother, Steve, in town with him, but this will be a new experience for the 20-year-old.
"Christmas Eve, Christmas I was back home," the Missouri native said, recalling his Colorado playing days. "This is my first Christmas away from home. … (We'll) try to make the most of it.
"We're going to have to find some Christmas spirit out here in Utah," he added. "I'm going to see some of the NBA games, but I'm going to relax too. It's a day off."
Fellow rookie Enes Kanter, like short-termed Turkish teammate Mehmet Okur, is of the Muslim faith, so he doesn't celebrate this Christian holiday.
But, Kanter quickly added with a smile, "I still like wishing Merry Christmas to everyone."
Paul Millsap is looking forward to spending time with his kids, and he's determined to watch some NBA.Comment on this story
"I'm going to mix it up," he said. "Spend time with my family, maybe do a little church — then the rest of the day basketball, I'm going to get (it) in."
Gym rat C.J. Miles has a relaxing day ahead of him. The 24-year-old's plans?
"Nothing at all," he said at the Jazz practice facility. "I'll probably end up in here, to tell the truth."
Veteran small forward Josh Howard is in town by himself, and he plans on giving himself a very special gift.
"Sleep," he said, chuckling.
Sounds good to Corbin, who looks forward to some non-basketball time. Smiling, the coach said, "I need quiet."
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