Uninspired effort for Jazz leads to blowout loss to the Trail Blazers

Published: Monday, Dec. 19 2011 10:33 p.m. MST

PORTLAND, Ore. — It's just the preseason. Exhibition games don't count. The slate will be wiped clean by the time the real stuff starts next week.

But still.

Despite its overall insignificance to the standings, a 110-90 pounding from Portland was not the kind of start the Utah Jazz envisioned or expected.

"Sometimes you fall into a trap of thinking it's the exhibition season, we've got time," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "We don't have time to waste games. We can't waste minutes on the floor, so I was disappointed in that."

Utah's ineffective and uninspired effort — with plenty of wasted minutes on both ends of the floor — was a shock and a contrast to what the team has shown since camp began on Dec. 9.

"The message is we have to be more aggressive and be more ready once we get on the floor," Corbin said. "We've got to have a better effort than what we demonstrated. … We've had some great practices and we just didn't transfer it to the game floor tonight."

Perhaps the lone highlight for the Jazz?

Derrick Favors.

When asked over the weekend about how a pinkie injury might affect his game, the second-year power forward insisted it wouldn't, saying, "I'm a man."

No one would dare argue with the manly 20-year-old on this night.

Playing alongside rookie Enes Kanter — along with fellow Junior Jazz members Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks — Favors scored 25 points and hauled in 12 rebounds, both game-highs.

"I got comfortable," Favors said. "All of the work that I've been putting in this summer, it's just finally paying off. I was just ready to get out there and play."

"He did a good job," Corbin said. "He was big inside."

Other than his bright play, it was an overall dreary showing for the Jazz, who put extra gloom in this Northwestern city.

They've installed a new defense and instilled a new commitment to making stops in camp, but Portland had its way with the Jazz. Led by former Utah guard Wesley Matthews' 17 points, the Blazers shot 55.8 percent while slicing and dicing the Jazz's D.

The aggression and rotations needed simply weren't there. Neither was the effort.

And it showed.

"I was not really impressed with the way we played defense. I didn't think we came out with a sense of urgency," Corbin said. "I know it's an exhibition game, but we talked about setting the precedent right from the beginning of the ballgame and we didn't come out with the same kind of energy we have been demonstrating the last week or so in practice."

Paul Millsap (right quad tendinitis) was unavailable, so Corbin went with an interesting starting lineup that included a frontcourt of Mehmet Okur and Al Jefferson along with C.J. Miles, Raja Bell and Devin Harris.

That group struggled early and often, falling behind 18-6 before Corbin turned to the bench. The five starters, who played without energy or a rhythm, combined to only score 11 points in the opening half. They weren't much better to open the second half.

Harris was the only starter — no guarantees they'll continue starting —=A0to reach double figures for the game with 10 points.

"We've got a lot to work on," Harris said. "They came out and they were the aggressor, kind of knocked us back on our heels."

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