SALT LAKE CITY — There's one thing Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin absolutely does not want to witness in his team's preseason finale against Portland — another 41-point early outburst by the Blazers.
"We've got to have better effort in the beginning of ballgames," Corbin said, referring to a slow start in the Jazz's eventual 120-114 loss. "We've got to get a better first quarter than we got last time out."
The quarter was reminiscent of another clunky quarter the Jazz had in Los Angeles, when the Clippers exploded for 34 points.
Corbin has made a big emphasis on the defensive end this preseason — something the Jazz have mostly responded to in positive ways — so he wants to make sure these quarters are few and far between.
As for tonight, Corbin didn't offer specifics for what he wants to see in the non-televised game at EnergySolutions Arena other than a strong finish to the exhibition season.
"We've got to continue to grow," Corbin said. "We've got to continue to see combinations, get comfortable with each other and make sure we feel good about where we are coming out of training camp."
Corbin wouldn't say whether the Jazz starters will play regular minutes or if reserves will see extra time.
"It's just all about me, just get my timing right, just start to get in game mode, because it's around the corner now," Jazz center Al Jefferson said. "Preseason is almost over with, training camp, so we've just got to get in that season mode."
HALL OF FAMERS WELCOME: John Stockton and Karl Malone were inducted into the Utah Sports Hall of Fame together on Monday, and their old Jazz teammate was happy to have them in town.
"It was great to see both guys back in our building," Corbin said.
Question is: Would he take those guys back on his team?
He was first asked that about The Mailman.
"Did you see that body?" Corbin said about Malone, who admitted he still works out two hours a day and could play (and foul hard) in short stints. "I would take him in a heartbeat."
"I would take him in a heartbeat also. I think he's a little lighter, which is amazing to me. He looked good," Corbin said. "John plays a lot — and he calls all the fouls, too."
WORK IN PROGRESS: Derrick Favors has struggled offensively for much of the preseason, and especially from the free-throw line where the forward is only shooting 58.6 percent.
"He's a better free-throw shooter than he's shown," Corbin said.
There was quite the coincidence going on when Corbin was asked about Favors' foul shooting, by the way.
"See, he's working on free throws right now," Corbin said, motioning in the direction of Favors, who indeed was on the other side of the gym shooting from the charity stripe in warm-up time.1 comment on this story
Corbin laughed and added, "We've got to get better."
The team's goal is to make a percentage in the high-70s, low-80s. Utah is shooting 71 percent through seven preseason games.
NOTES: Point guard Mo Williams experienced "lower abdominal discomfort" and missed the first part of practice, but joined the team mid-workout after being seen by a doctor. "I'm fine," he said. This will be Portland point guard Damian Lillard's first visit to Utah as an NBA player. The Weber State star was drafted No. 6 overall by the Blazers in June. The Jazz are leading the NBA in team 3-point shooting at 43.0 percent.
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