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Utah Jazz: Al Jefferson isn't only Jazzman emerging — Derrick Favors is coming on strong

Published: Thursday, March 8 2012 9:51 p.m. MST

Derrick Favors of the Utah Jazz looks to pass past Udonis Haslem of the Miami Heat during the second half of play at the Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City Friday, March 2, 2012. Jazz won the game in the final seconds, 99-98.

Brian Nicholson, Deseret News

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PHILADELPHIA — Derrick Favors is one of the Utah Jazz's most powerful players, even leads the team in dunks.

So, it's hard to say he's quietly coming on.

But Favors is indeed quietly coming on of late.

The second-year big man has played well on this road trip, scoring 14 points in two of the three games, shooting 16-for-27 and grabbing an average of 5.7 rebounds in only 16.7 minutes.

Even so, those key performances off the bench have been overshadowed by recent outbursts by Al Jefferson, who's led the team in scoring, rebounding and assists in consecutive road wins.

Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin is pleased with how Favors is evolving as a scorer.

"We want his growth to come where we can go to him on the post some," Corbin said, "especially with that second group."

Ultimately, Corbin hopes the 6-foot-10 second-year big and 6-11 rookie center Ens Kanter will develop a chemistry like Jefferson and Paul Millsap have, where they learn to play off of each other, clear space for one another and prove to be potent threats in the post.

Corbin is trying to get Kanter to move better on the weakside away from Favors instead of merely watching his teammate try to do his thing.

"Derrick, right now, is a little bit more advanced," Corbin said. "We can throw it to him a little bit and see what we can get as long as he attack the basket."

Favors has been trying to hone a go-to move, and he's certainly progressed with his back to the basket from 5-to-10 feet out. And nobody on the team attacks the hoop as well as he does.

"I'm just working in practice all the time," Favors said, "working hard and just knowing what I've got to do on the offense, get my shot set, position myself on the offense to get myself open."

Tonight, Favors will face the team he played arguably the best game of his career against in Philadelphia. Jefferson missed the Jazz's 102-99 win over the Sixers because of an ankle injury on Dec. 30 in Utah.

Favors started at center and scored a season-high 20 points with 11 rebounds.

Considering the tear Big Al's been on, Philly might be happy if the Jazz's starting center only gets that tonight.

BIG COMPLIMENTS: Speaking of Jefferson, whose averages have increased to 19..1 points and 9.4 rebounds, he left quite the impression on Charlotte after his 31 points, nine rebounds and five assists.

Rookie center Bismack Biyombo: "He has got so much skill playing in the post. ... Sometimes he was timing his shot and you really don't know when he's going to shoot it."

Veteran forward Corey Maggette: "Al Jefferson is a load down there. It was a great learning experience for Bismack. ... (the) way he pump fakes and puts you in different binds."

TAKING SUGGESTIONS?: Point guard Devin Harris provided the humorous moment of the Jazz's practice Thursday at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. While Corbin spoke with reporters, Harris briefly took a detour from his stretching and interrupted the interview.

Harris' unsolicited suggestion: "Figure out a way to get our point guard more isolations."

Corbin laughed. "Ice him up. That's easy."

TEAM CHEMISTRY: Coach Corbin on how well the Jazz get along this season:

"It's just a good group of guys. This group of guys is special because they understood right from the beginning that we have to stay together. We have to support each other."

Email: jody@desnews.com

Twitter: DJJazzyJody

Blog: Jazzland.blog.deseretnews.com=

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