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Utah Jazz aren't despairing after early setback in San Antonio

Published: Monday, April 30 2012 10:30 p.m. MDT

"We've got to get him to use his speed more," Corbin said. "He's got to be aggressive in pushing the ball down the floor. We've got to get him in some more pick-and-roll opportunities and put the ball in his hands a little bit more, maybe get him to come off the baseline a little bit and get some running plays with him having the ball.

"He got off to a slow start, but he'll be fine … he'll respond."

If the Jazz hope to knock off the Spurs in this series, Harris has to be more of a factor on the offensive end of the floor — and try to slow down Parker on the defensive end.

"We've just got to make him take a few more perimeter shots, keep him out of the paint as much as we can — easier said than done," Harris said of his difficult defensive assignment against the lightning-quick Parker. "We'll try to figure out a way.

"He's a challenge all around. He does a great job of getting in the paint, they run great stuff for him, and we've got to try and make him play a little more defense, try and limit his transition opportunities, limit his layups and maybe give him a hard foul or two."

Harris pointed out that, in defending the Spurs' offense, it's dangerous to make things congested in the middle to prevent Parker from penetrating.

"They spread the floor for a reason," he said. "They put shooters out there — the Matt Bonners, the Stephen Jacksons — and they make shots and make it tough to pack that lane. And that's why they run the stuff that they do. They're a good team for a reason."

Veteran swingman Josh Howard, who was reinserted into the starting lineup for Sunday's series-opener, said Parker's stellar Game 1 performance was simply a continuation of his strong regular-season showing.

"This entire season, he's been aggressive," said Howard, who struggled through a scoreless 0-for-4 shooting effort in just his third game back after missing more than a month of the regular season with a knee injury that required surgery. "With Tim (Duncan) being out and Manu (Ginobili) being out the majority of the season, he's been the guy who's been there and stepping it up and eventually led them to one of the best records in the NBA (50-16).

"I knew that was going to carry on into the playoffs, and he asserted himself yesterday and it was a tough game for us. But we've got to figure out a way to stop him."

If not, though, this will wind up being an awfully short-but-not-sweet series for Utah — and then the Jazz will no doubt be feeling pretty darned grumpy after all.

email: rhollis@desnews.com

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