Utah Jazz hope to avoid bumpy road

Published: Thursday, Nov. 1 2012 9:00 p.m. MDT

When they're not goofing or dozing off, Utah hopes the addition of the experienced Williamses and veteran Randy Foye pays off in more wins outside of the Beehive State than in recent years.

"I think it helps us tremendously," Corbin said. "We're looking forward to their leadership on the road. They are experienced in this league and they understand what it takes to win on the road."

The returning Jazz players also overcame early stumbles and won big road games during their playoff run, going 6-6 in their final 12 away games. They're counting on that improvement to carry over.

Corbin said it's critical that players get enough rest, eat right, receive proper treatment, focus on making perfect possessions and stick together. It's easy to fall apart in chaotic conditions, leading to the oft-discussed home-court advantage.

Shooting guard Gordon Hayward pointed out how important it is to avoid playing comeback ball, even though the Jazz became famous for doing that so many times his rookie season.

"It's going to be a challenge for us. I think it's going to challenge us to make sure we bring our won energy," Hayward said. "We're not going to have our fans, who are so tremendous to bring energy for us. We need to make sure that we get off to good starts. It's crucial on the road."

Like his younger teammate, Mo Williams emphasized the importance of channeling that inner-strength and motivation. He credited the Utah crowd for giving the team a needed boost in Wednesday's 113-94 win over Dallas after a slow start, knowing full well that isn't about to happen in New Orleans, San Antonio or Memphis.

"You have to find your own energy. You have to find your own spirit," Williams said. "You have to execute even better. Mistakes have got to be minimized to win basketball games on the road."

Ignoring distractions is another necessity, Williams said. He smiled about even neglecting family and friends who occasionally cheer him on around the country.

"I've just got a way of tuning the fans out," he said, "and just focusing on the task at hand."

The Jazz can thank (or curse) the NBA schedule-maker for giving them plenty of early opportunities to practice that — and to catch teammates catching winks.

"We on the road — it's us against the world," center Al Jefferson said. "That's one thing about the road — we've got to stay together. It's a good challenge for us to start the season off like that, to let us know it's not starting off easy. We're going to stay together and just trust each other, and I believe that's going to bring us closer together."

EMAIL: jody@desnews.com


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