Utah Jazz notes: Sloan ticked with basic defense
Brewer, Miles land in the coach's dog house in Portland
DENVER — Jazz coach Jerry Sloan seemed to run out of patience Tuesday night.
And it wasn't just with referees.
Rather, it was with a couple of his younger guys — namely starting shooting guard Ronnie Brewer and starting small forward C.J. Miles.
Sloan — whose Jazz lost Tuesday at Portland and visit Denver tonight — subbed in two veterans, shooting guard Kyle Korver and small forward Andrei Kirilenko, earlier than usual in Tuesday's opening quarter.
It was just six minutes and 45 seconds into the game, in fact, when Sloan went with the two 28-year-olds over 24-year-old Brewer and 22-year-old Miles.
Sloan had some choice words at the bench for both, but seemed especially bothered by the job Brewer was doing on Trail Blazers All-Star Brandon Roy.
"He's a wonderful player," Sloan said of Roy, who wound up with 25 points on 10-of-14 field shooting.
"Ronnie had one foul playing a great player. That's not gonna cut it," the Jazz coach said as he scanned the postgame box score sheet.
"I mean, he (Roy) got two lobs on him right there on the basket — and he (Brewer) wasn't even ready for the lob," Sloan said.
"Those are things you learn when you're in grade school — you've got to get your body between your man and the basket, and not let them have something like that."
Brewer started the second half, but Miles did not. Instead, 32-year-old vet Matt Harpring opened in his place.
"If I had to do it over," said Sloan, who wound up getting ejected in the third quarter of the blowout loss, "I'd probably play him (Harpring) a little more."
SURPRISE REACTION: Sloan surprisingly let the Jazz off the hook a bit after they lost for the 15th time in their 18th back-to-back set second-game opportunity.
"We played (Monday) night," he said with reference to a win over New York. "I think young teams sometimes have a tendency to run into those sort of things. It's just how fast they fight back, with the next game being a tough game, (that matters)."
Point guard Deron Williams seemed much more bothered by the way the Jazz have been closing out back-to-backs.
"It's become a recurring thing for us — just playing bad on the road, playing bad on back-to-backs," he said. "There's no excuse. No reason I can put my finger on. We just have to find ways to win."
The Jazz have eight games remaining in their regular season, including two more back-to-back sets — tonight at Denver and Friday night at home vs. Minnesota, and a visit from the Los Angeles Clippers, followed by an April 14 visit with the Los Angeles Lakers to close the season.
BIG GAME: The Nuggets are not by any means downplaying the significance of tonight's game.
"This Utah game is special," Denver star Carmelo Anthony said after a Tuesday win over New York. "I'm excited about it ... It's like a championship type of game ... Like a Game 7 game."
"That's a big game," Nuggets point Chauncey Billups added. "That's a very big game for us. With everything so close right now, of course, it means a lot. We have been looking forward to playing them since we lost in Utah a couple of weeks ago."
Asked if it's Denver's biggest game of the year, Nuggets coach George Karl did not disagree.
"Probably," he said. "I think it's a great game to celebrate a great year. I thought we played them very well in Utah a couple of weeks ago. We have an opportunity to get everything back to even (the season series)."
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