Utah Jazz notebook: It isn't just 1 thing wrong with the team, it's 'lots'
Eric Gay, AP
SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz didn't practice Thursday, giving them plenty of extra time to mull over what's gone wrong against San Antonio.
To sum it up: LOTS.
The Jazz were the fourth-highest scoring team in the regular season with just under 100 points a game. So far, however, they've only put in an average of 87.0 points.
Utah has shot a miserable 38.0 percent from the field and 26.3 percent from 3-point range. The Jazz have only dished out 16.5 assists per outing while turning the ball over 15.5 times.
Compare that to the efficiency and explosiveness the Spurs have displayed while taking a 2-0 first-round lead: 110.0 points, 52.4 percent shooting, 41..0 percent from 3-point range, 26.5 assists and 11.0 turnovers.
The Spurs' average margin of victory is the most staggering stat: 23.0 points per beating (106-91 in Game 1 and 114-83 in Game 2).
"There's a reason why their coach got coach of the year," Jazz center Al Jefferson said of Spurs mastermind Gregg Popovich. "They are just a great all-around team. They know what they (are) doing. They got a plan and they stick with it."
Shutting down Utah's potent interior game is one part of San Antonio's plan that has worked like a charm. The Spurs have outscored the Jazz 120-80 inside the paint — where Utah usually thrives.
"They've just been more aggressive. They're denying, fronting us, basically making us make plays," Jazz forward Paul Millsap said. "Their defense is tough, but a lot of it is on us. We're making the game hard on ourselves. We're just not playing basketball out there. Period."
The Jazz will hit the practice court today — and continue to watch film — in hopes of improving by Saturday's Game 3 at EnergySolutions Arena.
STILL SIDELINED: Raja Bell missed five weeks due to injuries — strained adductor (groin) and a left knee issue — but the veteran said he's ready and willing to play.
Bell, in his 12th season, made a career out of being a defensive specialist and 3-point threat — two things the Jazz are lacking. But he is the only available player (not including injured Earl Watson and C.J. Miles) who hasn't played in the postseason.
"I played the last game of the regular season, so as far as I know, yeah, I am (healthy enough)," Bell said. "Again, it's not my call. It's OK."
Bell said he hasn't spoken to Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin about his playing situation (or lack thereof). He won't make a fuss about not playing, either.
"If I have an opportunity to help, I'm going to help. If I don't have that opportunity, then I can't be frustrated," Bell said. "I've got a life to live, homes, I can't let it bother me."
SIR MERCIFUL: Charles Barkley, who has a soft spot in his heart for the Jazz, is keeping his fingers crossed that Utah can win one of its two games at ESA.
"I always feel bad when a team gets swept," he said on TNT. "I just hope they (Jazz) win a game."
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