Five random moments that made me chuckle while covering a team that's been smiling a lot lately:
1. Teaching the Turk: Jamaal Tinsley has basketball knowledge, and he's been willing to share his wisdom with rookie teammate Enes Kanter in their spare time on the bench. Watch during a game, and you can see the veteran point guard explaining X's and O's to the youngster. "He's the type of guy that listens," Tinsley said. "He's willing to learn." The lessons are done in English. But Tinsley laughed and said he might get Turkish lessons in return from Kanter. "I need to know a couple of words," he said. "I'm going to ask him." Tinsley didn't say which words he wants to learn.
2. Assistance needed?: Devin Harris finally overtook Earl Watson to become the team's assists leader with 36 in eight games (Watson has 34). Six regular rotation guys still haven't hit double digits in dimes. Then there's Derrick Favors, who has yet to make a pass that directly led to a teammate scoring a basket. Asked about his 0.0 assists per game average in a light-hearted way Saturday, the second-year big man smiled. His reply: "Am I supposed to get assists?"
3. Big nicknames: During camp, Al Jefferson referred to Turkish rookie Enes Kanter as "The Big Turk." More recently, he's affectionately been calling the hard-working center "Big Turkey." Considering Kanter's age, perhaps the 19-year-old should return the nickname favor to the recently turned 28-year-old Jefferson. Big Mississippi? Nah. More like Ole Miss.
4. Shooting from the lip: Big Al had four straight games with 20 points or more before the Warriors held him to 15 Saturday. His reaction while looking at the stat sheet in the locker room? "I need my (behind) whooped," Jefferson said, acknowledging a rough shooting night (6-for-15). Seeing that he only made six shots, the jokester also asked if it was a first-half boxscore.
5. Utah's senior citizen: C.J. Miles overheard an interview during which 35-year-old Raja Bell was asked if it's weird to see his former peers — like Mark Jackson — become NBA head coaches while he's still playing. Miles, 24, sprung to his elder teammate's defense. "He's trying to call you old," Miles joked. "Don't let him talk to you like that." Won't happen again, gramps.
A look at Jazz opponents for the next seven days:
vs. Cavaliers, Tuesday, 7 p.m., ROOT
Go check the NBA standings. Rub your eyes, pinch yourself and check again. Yep, Cleveland really has that many wins.
vs. Lakers, Wednesday, 7 p.m., ROOT
L.A. will only be playing the second night of a back-to-back, not its third game in as many nights. The Jazz might have a shot.
vs. Nets, Saturday, 7 p.m., ROOT
Jazz's only visit from Nets. Remains to be heard whether Utah fans will boo or cheer for their old point guard ... Sundiata Gaines.
at Nuggets, Sunday, 6 p.m., root
Judging their last showing in Denver, Jazz's best hope might be if Mile High City cancels all events that don't include Tebow.
The Big Stat
7.5: That's how many blocked shots per game Jazz are averaging. They don't call it Swat Lake City for nothing. Wizards jumped ahead of Utah for the NBA lead, though. They average 7.57 bpg (and 0.0 wins per game).
Al Jefferson: Center averaged 20.8 points, 8.3 rebounds in four Jazz victories.
C.J. Miles: Scored 11 Monday but only played 13 minutes total Friday and Saturday.
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