I don't think you want to take the whole four or five days off because then you let your body get to point where it's out of a routin. And then when you come back, it's going to be even harder than it was than just taking two or three days off, then working out a couple of days right before we start back. —C.J. Miles
MINNEAPOLIS — The NBA's annual All-Star Weekend means different things to different people.
For two Utah Jazz players, Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors, it means an opportunity to play in the Friday's Rising Stars Challenge, a game featuring first- and second-year NBA players in an all-star format where the two teams' coaches — legendary big men Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley — certainly know a little bit about the All-Star Weekend festivities themselves.
For Utah's Jeremy Evans, it means he'll get a chance to put his high-flying dunking skills on grand display in the Sprite Slam Dunk competition on Saturday.
And for Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin, it gives him an opportunity to express how proud he is of his young pups.
"It's a good accomplishment for the organization and great recognition for those young guys," Corbin said. "For them to get down there and get a chance to experience the other side of the NBA — the glamor, the glitz of the All-Star Weekend — it's a tremendous reward for them to be able to be a part of it.
"And we look forward to them being in the (All-Star) game on Sunday instead of the Friday and Saturday night games at some point in their careers."
But most of the Jazz family will find other ways to spend this midseason weekend.
And for veteran swingman C.J. Miles, he says the time off is particularly important for the "guys that play a lot a lot of minutes."
But that doesn't mean spending the entire four days just lazily laying around the house and gorging oneself on burritos and bon-bons.
"I don't think you want to take the whole four or five days off because then you let your body get to point where it's out of a routine," Miles said. "And then when you come back, it's going to be even harder than it was than just taking two or three days off, then working out a couple of days right before we start back.
"I think the biggest thing is just to be smart about what you do. Do something just to keep your heartbeat pumping, but don't do anything to go crazy and really get your mind off of it, too.
"Go see your family," said Miles, a 24-year-old, six-year NBA veteran who sounded wise beyond his years. "People that have kids go be able to (be) with their kids, go be able to do the things they don't get to do regularly with their kids — to the park, to their soccer games, whatever that may be.
"I think it's refreshing, especially with all of the games we've been playing and the pressure of trying to get out there and help your team win games. And the way it's been up and down, I think it'll be good, especially for some guys on our team, everybody on our team, body-wise."
Asked how he planned on spending All-Star Weekend, Corbin quipped: "Well, I'm going to continue practicing my interviews."
But that'll be a small part of what Coach Corbin accomplishes between now and when the regular season resumes next Tuesday at Sacramento.
"We get a chance to reflect a few days, look at some more film and understand where we are completely," he said, "and what we have to do to get better in the second half to finish this thing off and make a playoff run at the end."
BACK IN MINNESOTA: Corbin spent two-plus seasons playing for the Timberwolves' franchise from 1989-91 after the expansion team first joined the league, and he reflected fondly on that time he spent here.
"I enjoyed my time here," he said. "I thought this was a great city and a great community, and they were really excited about the teams that we had here the 2 1/2 years I was here.
"The people were tremendous, man, and we set a goal with Coach (Bill) Musselman to be the best of the new franchises — there were four expansion teams at the time, and we were working to do that, and then the bottom-tier teams at the time and then the non-playoff-making teams from the year before. We wanted to be the best of that group and I thought we were coming along in those areas, so I think it was a great time for me to be here."
Wednesday's time spent in Minnesota wasn't much of a great time to be here for the Jazz, however, as they dropped a tough 100-98 loss to the T-wolves.
Corbin is one of several members of the Jazz family with strong ties to the Minnesota franchise.
Utah starting center Al Jefferson spent three seasons with the T-wolves, averaging over 20 points and 10-plus rebounds per game before he was traded to the Jazz in July 2010. He had 18 points, 11 rebounds and three steals in Wednesday's loss.
Utah assistant coach Sidney Lowe was a teammate of Corbin's in Minnesota and spent three separate stints as an assistant coach here, plus a couple of seasons as the team's head coach.
LOOKING AHEAD: With Wednesday's disheartening defeat, Corbin and his team reach the All-Star break at 15-17, and he sized up their prospects for moving forward following the time off.
"We've got to better on the road games and the way we play on the road and finish the games off on the road," he said. "... We've played well for spans; we just haven't been able to finish games. We've got to figure out what's going on on the road to be able to win road games.
"... We're going to have a few days off to get our bodies back, but you want your mind feeling good about what's going on, too, so it's not a worry thing that's on your mind on the four days you're off.
"One of the things I feel good about is the way these guys are working," he said. "I think they've been focused on getting better; they've come into their practice most days ready to go to work to get better, understanding the sense of urgency of where we are, each guy focusing on how they need to get better to make us better.
"I'm happy with the effort and the attitude of the guys. We all want to get better, and they're all willing to work to get better. Unfortunately, we didn't have an opportunity to get a lot of practice time. ... We just don't have practice time, and so it's frustrating that way. But the guys' attitudes and their work ethic have been really pleasing to me."
Asked about his team's frustrations at seeing their solid start spoiled by a recent tailspin that saw them lose three straight and eight of their last 10 games before the break, Corbin continued to have plenty of faith in his players' resolve.
"These guys have too much character to quit," he said. "We're disappointed in some nights in the way we play or the results that we get through playing, but for the most part they're a great group of guys and they continue to work to get better.
"We're disappointed in the last (three) losses and we're disappointed in some of the losses we had before the last couple of games. But you know what, we're still working. Their work ethic has been great, man. We're still working on things and trying to understand what we're going to need to do to get better."Comment on this story
DINGING THE BELL: Veteran shooting guard Raja Bell missed his second straight game, and fifth of the season, with a left adductor strain Wednesday night.
Corbin is being cautious about how the team handles the 35-year-old veteran, because hey don't want to rush him back until he's healthy.
"We want to make sure we give him an opportunity to get better," Corbin said. "We're gonna need him when we get back, and I don't want to take a chance on him getting hurt any worse now and being out for an extended amount of time. So we'll be careful with him and make sure that if he can go, that it's the right thing for him to do now and for us later on, too."