BOSTON — Title of the sermon at pregame chapel service here Wednesday night was "From Major Mess to Masterpiece."
A sign in the visiting locker room at TD Banknorth Garden said, "All are welcome."
If they thought they might not need to hear it before falling 105-86 to the Boston Celtics, perhaps some with the 3-5 Jazz might have had second thoughts afterward.
Because Wednesday they looked like a team photo of chaos and confusion.
"Right now, we're soft," Jazz point guard Deron Williams said. "There's no way around it.
"We're not playing tough at all.
"You know, they were quicker to loose balls, they got on the floor, they did the things that you have to have, have to do, to win."
Boston, which never trailed, broke a 23-23 game at the end of the first quarter and led by 17 or more throughout the fourth quarter.
"They were just all over us," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said of an 8-1 Celtics club that got 18 points from Kevin Garnett, a 14-point, 11-assist double-double from Rajon Rondo and double-figure scoring from all five starters. "We looked like we never played a game that difficult … and it wasn't a lot of fun to watch."
The Jazz coach was so unhappy with Boston's 12-6 start that he called a quick, uncharacteristic 20-second timeout three minutes and 30 seconds into the game.
He subbed out two-time NBA All-Star Carlos Boozer just 4:23 into the game, and 3:42 into the third quarter.
And he subbed out one-time All-Star Mehmet Okur for sporadically used backup Kyrylo Fesenko at the same time of the third, making a statement with obvious implications.
"I wouldn't mind them rebounding," Sloan said when asked what more he wanted to see from his bigs. "There weren't any rules against them rebounding."
Boozer had only two boards in 27 minutes, Okur three in 25.
"I mean if you're just gonna stay out there and shoot shots and not defend and not rebound, it's pretty tough," Sloan added, "so I thought we'd try somebody else."
If the message was received, it's tough to tell.
"I just though Coach was trying to mix it up a little bit. I don't know," Boozer said.
"Maybe he's trying to do something different and spark the team. I have no idea.
"But I don't know if it worked or not," he added. "You guys be the judge of that."
Williams said he thought Sloan was flustered most by "just lack of effort."
"That's what I would put my money on," said Williams, who played despite a strained back that kept out of Tuesday's practice and Wednesday's morning shootaround.
"I'm not trying to point fingers or anything," he added. "We all played bad today, you know? We all have to play better to win, and we haven't done that (on) a consistent basis this year. And it's frustrating."
Sloan seemed as upset by the Jazz's insistence on ill-advised outside shooting as he was by their poor defense.
"We started taking jump shots," he said. "That made (the Celtics) feel a lot better, because they didn't have to run too far to get a layup.
"The rough route," added Sloan, whose Jazz continue a four-game eastern road trip Friday at Philadelphia, "is stay in there, set screens and defend better. And then the rest of it will come to you. If you're tough enough. If you aren't tough enough, they just keep burying you."
Lack of physicality proved problematic, too.
"That's what the problem was: We didn't want to foul anybody," Sloan said. "If we did, it was one of those slapping fouls that everybody in the world can see. We never got our bodies in front of people to try to stand them up and not let them go where they want to go."
On those counts, Boozer mostly concurred.
"I think we've got to be able to find the line on the defensive end of playing physical without picking up fouls," he said, "because we seem to pick up a lot of fouls when we start to play physical, where other teams, they play physical and they don't pick up the fouls.104 comments on this story
"On the offensive end, we've just got to do a better job. We took a lot of dumb shots tonight, and that hurt us.
"It just seemed like we were taking jump shot after jump shot after jump shot, and it just built up their confidence defensively," Boozer added. "You know, if they knew we were going to settle for jump shots every time down they could play a lot looser on defense. And that's what we did. We played into the trap they gave us."
A Jazz masterpiece, in other words, it was not.