NEW ORLEANS — The Utah Jazz begin a grueling stretch of road games tonight with a test at New Orleans Arena.
Though the Hornets aren't expected to be contenders and don't have a starter with more than five years of experience, don't count this one in the win column just yet, Jazz fans.
Big man Anthony Davis showed Wednesday in a close loss to San Antonio why he was the No. 1 pick, scoring 21 points. Plus, the Hornets have won four of six from Utah, including two surprising wins in the Bayou last season.
"You can't afford to relax against anybody. Monty (Williams) does a great job (as head coach). His teams play hard, and they're going to play hard," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said after today's shootaround.
"Although they're young and they're trying to figure their way out in this league, one thing you can count on — these guys are going to come out and compete against you every night they step on the floor, every minute."
More short shots from shootaround:
— Corbin on the addition of small forward Marvin Williams (21 points in the season-opening blowout over Dallas):
"The thing that we understood when we got him is that he's a true professional and he's demonstrated that every day that he's been here," Corbin said. "He's a committed guy who want to get better and he come in and work hard every day to understand what his role would be on this team and how we can help him and he can help us be better. "
Corbin added that Williams' strength is helping the Jazz spread the floor with his ability to shoot from the corner. The 6-9 forward, however, is also able to post up smaller guys and will get chances to play power forward against outside-shooting fours. The Jazz also like how he can handle the ball, which gives the team more opportunities to get into its offense quickly.
— The team's strategy against 6-10 power forward Anthony Davis?
"He's a young guy trying to figure his way out in this league. He's a talented kid that had a good game the other night against San Antonio," Corbin said. "He's feeling good about who he is. He's a versatile player. We just have to make sure we play our game against him and see what plays we get to work against him and not let him get off on us on the offensive end."
— Mo Williams on his new role of being a starter after serving as Chris Paul's backup with the Los Angeles Clippers:
"I was called up on to be the spark and come in and score the basketball and that's what I did for that team. That's what we needed me to be to be successful," Williams said. "This year it's a lot more on my shoulders, which I'm fully capable of doing. That's why I wanted to get back into this role."
Williams is in his 10th season, but he's not quite 30 yet (December).
"I'm not done yet," he said. "I'm not ready for that role to be minimized just yet."
— Buddies Williams and Al Jefferson will host 40-plus members of the Mississippi National Guard at tonight's game. They'll also have a contingency from their home state as will Louisiana product Paul Millsap.
"They'll be here, but at the same time, I expect this to be a road game. I expect there to be a lot of Hornets fans in the building. But it's a road game for us. I know me and Al, it's close to home, so is Paul, but at the same time we expect to get the boos."