Utah Jazz Extra: Players celebrate Easter in different ways

Published: Sunday, April 8 2012 8:28 p.m. MDT

The Jazz spent Easter Sunday away from their homes and families, which Al Jefferson admitted "comes with the territory." From fun traditions to moments of spiritual reflection, here are some reasons why the holiday is significant to many players:

MEANINGFUL TO MILLSAP

Paul Millsap has been in the NBA for six years now, but he admitted being away from his two children, ages 8 and 7, on holidays remains a challenge.

"It's still tough. I don't think you can get used to something like that, especially (not) being with your family on a very special, important day," he said. "Especially like (Easter), you want to be with them, so you can teach them the true meaning of the holiday and share that moment with them."

Millsap didn't hesitate when asked what the significance of Easter is to him: "The true meaning of this holiday is the resurrection of Christ. … I always believed in that. I always will."

TINSLEY'S TRIP

Asked about his Easter memories, Jamaal Tinsley smiled as his mind led him on a trip down memory road to Brooklyn.

"In New York, we all used to go to Coney Island Park, a famous amusement park with a lot of rides," he said, grinning.

And, of course, they all had on some fresh new duds.

"As a little kid, just waiting for you to put the outfit on that your moms or your pops bought you," Tinsley said. "I just remember that moment when all your friends and family all got that nice outfit on and you're just waiting to show it off."

AN 'EGG-CELLENT' TIME

Al Jefferson's favorite Easter memory includes food, but not all of it was as good as the main course in Mississippi.

"My grandmother used to cook a big dinner. We had to stay in the house while all the grown ups (went) outside and hide eggs," he recalled. "So we would all go and once we found them whoever had the most eggs win. I always lost because every time I found the egg I ate it."

MISSING THE MINISTER

Dallas native C.J. Miles would've had some fans in San Antonio to support him, but his father, Calvin, a head minister, had a big Easter sermon to deliver at his Christian church.

"I got a bunch of pictures today from everybody being at church," Miles said before Sunday's game. "My brother came up from school (University of San Diego). They would've come up if it wasn't Easter Sunday. It's pretty big."

Miles also had fun as a kid searching for hidden treasures.

"I remember the Easter Egg hunts and then having stomachaches from eating the eggs all day," Miles said. "It was always a good time. =85 Then as I got older, I was like I can't do that no more."

SPIRITUAL 'POINT'

Like Millsap, Watson wasn't hesitant to give a spiritual message on Easter Sunday when asked why the day's important to him.

"Resurrection Day," Watson said. "Jesus gave his life for us, for our sins, past and present and future. It's eternal life."

It wasn't surprising Watson openly shared his beliefs, considering the Jazz point guard often quotes scriptures on his Twitter account.

"I think that's the whole purpose we're here for on Earth," Watson said. "Basketball is great and it's a great gift. It's a blessing, but our main reason is to serve God and use it as a plateau to show appreciation and gratitude and always give Him the glory. Every thing we do is for Him. We do nothing on our own. We accomplish nothing without Him."

COMING ATTRACTIONS

Today vs. San Antonio, 7 p.m., ROOT

Jazz might have a chance if they play tonight's game with the fire and energy they showed in the second half Sunday.

Wednesday at Houston, 6 p.m., ROOT

Not to overblow this game, but it could be THE BIGGEST GAME OF THE SEASON.

Friday at New Orleans, 6 p.m., ROOT

Jazz looked like they spent too much time on Bourbon Street in first visit here until the reserves rallied.

Saturday at Memphis, 6 p.m., ROOT

Good news is Utah played one of its best games when winning here in February. Bad news? Hot Grizzlies likely remember.

WHO'S HOT/NOT

HOT: Gordon Hayward

Second-year swingman has hit double digits in a career-best seven straight and continues to play good all-around ball.

NOT: Alec Burks

The rookie hasn't hit double figures in April and has seen his playing time slip a bit after a couple of weeks with big minutes.

THE BIG STAT

1 1/2 With nine games remaining on the season, the Jazz currently sit out of the playoff picture looking in. The Jazz are No. 10 in the West, with Houston, Dallas, Denver and Phoenix all within two games.

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