Utah Jazz hope returning home between games proves beneficial
SALT LAKE CITY — It remains to be seen if Utah Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin's decision to bring his team home between NBA playoff games in San Antonio pays off.
After dropping a 106-91 decision to the Spurs in Game 1 Sunday afternoon, the Jazz jetted back to Utah for a couple of practices and film sessions before returning to Texas for Game 2 on Wednesday night.
"You get another night home in your bed. You get a chance to practice here on our home floor. You're looking at film in our home building," Corbin said before Monday's practices at the Zions Bank Basketball Center. "It's relaxing, getting out of the atmosphere of everything being San Antonio for a while and getting back to what we need to get focused on. So we'll get back into it and we'll get back in plenty of time."
The Jazz are scheduled to fly back to San Antonio on Tuesday after a second practice at home.
"I think any time you get to sleep in your own bed and see your family and stuff like that, it probably is beneficial to you," said guard Gordon Hayward.
Some of the players, however, didn't have a lot to say about Corbin's decision to make the 1,086-mile flight back to Salt Lake City after the series opener.
"Does it make sense? I don't know," said forward Paul Millsap. "It's not my decision and you go with the flow."
Teammates Derrick Favors and Al Jefferson had similar responses.
"I just do what I'm told," Favors said.
Jefferson, however, expounded a bit more on the topic.
"They call the shots and I roll with it. I'm just happy to be here, happy to be in the playoffs," he noted before acknowledging some of the benefits of returning to Utah between games. "It's always good to sleep in your own bed. It's good to be in a familiar place. It's good to be back at home, where we're comfortable at."
Returning to their own practice floor and spending time getting refocused are two positives that guard Devin Harris points out for the Jazz.
"Our travel schedule will be sort of the same as it would be in any regular season game," he said. "So we see the benefits of that."
Although it'll require a lot of air travel in a short period of time, veteran Jamaal Tinsley noted that it's all about the bottom line.
"If that is going to give us the best chance to win," he said, "(then) we've just got to live with it."
PARKER PATROL: Defending Spurs guard Tony Parker, who went off for 28 points and eight assists in Game 1, is an obvious priority on Wednesday.
"You have to give him different looks. You have to make sure you're determined to keep him out of the paint and just do what you can and we'll try to change some ways we play the pick-and-roll and box him in some," Corbin said. "But when you keep him out of the paint and you put two guys on the ball, it's somebody else going to the basket. So you've got to make sure you try and handle him as much as you can but not let the other guys kill you at the same time."
Slowing down Parker, though, won't be easy under any circumstances.
"It's tough," Harris said. "Obviously, we've got to do better job on the pick-and-rolls and keep him out, force him to be more of a passer."
Parker made 10 shots and eight free throws in Game 1.
DEFENDING THE ALAMO: The Jazz made just 32-of-76 shots (42 percent) from the field on Sunday.
"They try to overplay the wing. So we definitely need to back cut some, so they have to honor our offense," Hayward said. "They play good defense. I think that's something that gets overlooked because they're such a good offensive team. But they're pretty sound defensively. They're physical and active."
SAME OLD SPURS: It's been five years since the Jazz and Spurs met in the Western Conference finals. Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Parker have aged fairly well since San Antonio won that series, 4-1.
"They got older but also got wiser," Millsap said. "They're going to continue to do what they do. They aren't going to change anything for anybody. They're going to come out and do the things that have made them successful."
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