Jazz notebook: Players hope to get ignited by home crowd, turn series around
SAN ANTONIO — The Utah Jazz locker room in the AT&T Center was a rather subdued place Wednesday night.
As you might expect following a drubbing the likes of the one the Jazz suffered — 114-83 to the San Antonio Spurs.
But on their way out of the Alamo City with a double-digit blowout loss for the second time this week, the Jazz claimed that this Western Conference first-round series is not yet over.
And, yes, they even believe they can get it to last past the two games in Salt Lake City on Saturday and Monday.
Center Al Jefferson admitted the Spurs have every right to be as confident as can be after beating the Jazz by a combined 46 points, but he isn't giving up hope.
"I think we could get our swagger. We just gotta not talk about it, we gotta deliver," Big Al said. "We got to go out with the energy and find a way to do it."
Paul Millsap said the Jazz have to leave all remnants of this 31-point shellacking in San Antonio, and that's the general feeling of his teammates.
"It's kind of easy to do. Blowouts are usually the ones easy to forget," Jazz point guard Devin Harris said. "Obviously, we thought we had a solid game plan. Things didn't really work out, so we kind of scrap this one and it's back to the drawing board."
The hard part for Utah is the fact that Wednesday's loss wasn't the result of huge games by the Big Three of Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili. Sure, Parker scored 18 with nine assists, and Duncan chipped in with 13 rebounds and 12 points.
But the Spurs were sparked by Kawhi Leonard (17 points) and Danny Green (13 points), of all players.
"They were hitting shots. We weren't," Jazz shooting guard Gordon Hayward said. "They went on a big, huge run (20-0 in the second quarter). From then on, it was just downhill for us. But we've got to put this one behind us and go home ready to fight."
The Jazz are hoping they'll draw energy and emotion — and perhaps their shots — from a pumped-up home crowd Saturday night at EnergySolutions Arena. Utah had one of the top home records at the league this season at 25-8.
"It's two tough losses, but we play a lot better in our building and with our fans," Hayward said. "We're going home fighting for our lives, ready to compete."
GLARING STAT: Derrick Favors made a big impact in the game when he entered Wednesday, helping the Jazz cut the Spurs' early 14-point lead to five at 31-26. Favors was then taken out — replaced by Jefferson — and San Antonio went on a 20-0 run.
By the time Favors returned midway through the third quarter, the Spurs had a 70-38 lead. That was a 39-12 run by the Spurs in the defensive-minded 6-10 big man's absence.
THIS AND THAT: The Jazz are not practicing on Thursday after flying back to Utah late Wednesday night. ... Tyrone Corbin was honored to end up tied with Oklahoma City's Scott Brooks with the sixth-most votes for the 2011-12 NBA coach of the year award. "It's a great honor. I thought that Coach (Gregg) Popovich winning it was a great choice. To be included in that class in any way is a great accomplishment for me." Small forward DeMarre Carroll found out this week that he has been playing with a broken bone in his mouth. He had to have his tooth moved back into place after being elbowed by Memphis' Tony Allen a couple of weeks ago, and his mouth has bothered him off and on after the tooth was repositioned. Sporting a mouth guard, he played 18:23 Wednesday and scored four points. Blake Ahearn was named first team All-NBA D-League after leading the Reno Bighorns with a league-best 23.8 scoring average this past season. Ahearn is the D-League's all-time leading scorer with 3,804 points.
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