Utah Jazz: Upstart Jazz gaining confidence in quest for postseason

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 31 2012 7:39 p.m. MST

Especially, Jazz forward Paul Millsap added, when the team is away from the ESA.

"We've got to prove it night in, night out. We've got to be consistent and continue to get wins," Millsap said. "Most important, we've got to win on the road. If we win on the road, then we'll draw a lot of people's attention. Consistency on the road is the key."

Corbin didn't hesitate to answer in the affirmative when asked if he believes his team is a top-eight team out West.

"Most definitely. I think we can compete with anybody if we play right and we play smart and we play hard," he said. "We can play with anybody. I want our guys to understand that, that we can compete with anybody as long as we do the right things on the floor."

The longer the season progresses with the Jazz in a playoff position in the standings, the more the team believes it belongs there, too.

"That's our goal. You always got to bring up your goals," Jazz forward Paul Millsap said. "That's what we're fighting for. We didn't make it last year, so we're going to take it step by step and make the playoffs first and see what happens."

There's also the thinking that playoff talk might be premature. Early success could lead to a letdown because players get ahead of themselves and stumble. Then again, keeping a big-picture focus can also be inspiring on a nightly basis.

"The thing is, the West is really jumbled up right now. It's a logjam in there," Bell said. "I see ourself as a playoff team, but we're going to kind of make our own fate.

"We've got to continue to win, continue to play well, and in this race I don't think it's going to be where there's a separation and you can coast on in. We're going to have to continue to get better and win our way into the playoffs."

Watson scoffed when it was insinuated that the Jazz might not necessarily be capable of being one of the NBA's better teams.

"I think we can be the best team," he said. "I think any team can be the best team if they step out on the court with focus, and they play with determination and play together.

"I always say belief is stronger than reality," the UCLA product and John Wooden disciple added. "Our belief is there. Now we're starting to prove things in reality."

Jazz tonight vs. Clippers

8:30 p.m., ESA

TV: ROOT/ESPN

Email: jody@desnews.com

Twitter: DJJazzyJody

Blog: jazzland.blogs.deseretnews.com

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