Utah Jazz notebook: Jazz happy to have veterans back, even if it is just visiting, not playing for Earl Watson

Published: Tuesday, April 24 2012 10:00 p.m. MDT

"I always believed in this team and always knew that this team could have a little success, if we'd just fight. It would've been easy for us to give up on each other and put our heads down, but with the type of coach that we have and the type of guys on this team that want to win, that was the last option.

"This is one of the wonderful things about this team," Jefferson said. "The one thing that stood out to me was, for a young team, everybody knows their roles. And you don't hardly ever see that. I've been on a lot of young teams where everybody is out for self, they're losing and they just want to get their numbers. But with this team everybody knows their roles and supports each other, and it's a wonderful thing to be a part of."

Jefferson is proud of his performance and that of his teammates this season, and rightfully so.

"... Regardless of what happens, we have no reason to put our heads down and we're gonna fight to the end," he said. "And if you do that, at the end of the day, that's all the coach asks you to do and you have no regrets.

"It just feels good to be a part of it, actually being one of the main guys. When I was in Boston, I was kinda the second or third option off the bench. I played big minutes but, still, it's great to be a part of it just to be a starter to help lead this team to the playoffs would just be a wonderful experience."

DOWN THE STRETCH THEY COME: Win or lose, Corbin expressed how pleased he is to see his young team do what was necessary to put itself in this position late in the season.

"I'm excited for the guys," he said prior to Tuesday's showdown with the Suns. "I'm excited for this group of guys. They've put in a lot of good work to get to this point and we're excited for the opportunity. You've gotta love playing in these kind of games.

"We control our own destiny. We're not looking for anybody else to win or lose for us to back into it, we've worked our way into a position where we control our own destiny. So that's the best-case scenario. You come out here and you lay it all on the line, you win the game and you go forward.

If we don't and it goes the other way, then we've got an opportunity but then we've got to count on somebody else to do something.

"All of our work that we put in early in the year is now paying off for us, and we're in a position to finish it off," Corbin said. "... When you control your own destiny, it's the best-case scenario because you can lay it all out there and you just feel better about it being in control."

Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry feels much the same way.

"I told the guys I think you should embrace it and understand that it's a lot more fun when you're playing meaningful games than it is to kind of play out the string," Gentry said prior to Tuesday's late-night showdown.

"... I think it's something that should be embraced and you should enjoy playing in games like this."

email: jody@desnews.com; rhollis@desnews.com

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