SALT LAKE CITY — Even though they’re playing a 15-win team, the Utah Jazz aren’t chalking up an early W before facing the New Orleans Hornets.
Losing by 45 points can have that humbling effect.
Guard Randy Foye considers tonight’s game at EnergySolutions Arena to be “very important” because of the way the Jazz struggled in Monday’s 125-80 humiliating loss to Houston.
“Especially in front of our home croud, I think it’s extremely important that we come out with a sense of urgency early on,” Foye said. “We always come out with a sense of urgency, but last game just wasn’t acceptable for no one, so this game we’ve just got to come and play as hard as we can.”
Utah will again be without sixth man Gordon Hayward, who is out for the second straight game with a sprained right shoulder.
More short shots from shootaround:
— More than just a game is on the line tonight. The Jazz are also playing to redeem some pride that was lost in the listless performance two nights ago.
“I play for the Utah Jazz. That’s enough said. We didn’t really like the way the game went. We didn’t like the way we played,” Jazz forward Paul Millsap said. “Tonight’s going to be a bounce-back game for us. Hopefully we’re going to get this win tonight.”
— The Jazz also vividly remember how well the Hornets play them. New Orleans had a three-game winning streak against Utah until the Jazz broke through and won in Louisiana, 96-84, on Nov. 28.
“They play hard. You can’t judge them by their record,” Jazz center Al Jefferson said. “You’ve got to go out there and play them. They played the Lakers real tough last night. They’ve been playing a lot of teams tough, especially now that they’ve got Eric Gordon back. We’ve got to come out ready to play.”
— The Jazz (24-21) had time to practice and lick their wounds Tuesday, while the Hornets (15-30) fell at Staples Center 111-105 to the Lakers.
Players feel their fans need some payback after putting them through the worst home loss in the franchise’s 39-year history and the organization’s fifth-largest margin of defeat.
"That’s the obligation every night we step on the court, especially like the night we had last game," Jefferson said. "But that's behind us. We’re moving on from it. We’re going to try to redeem ourselves tonight."
That's how Foye sees it, too.
"We kind of put the loss behind us, but it really is embarrassing to lose like that, especially on your own home court and hearing your fans boo you," the starting shooting guard said. "We wanted to boo ourselves after that performance, but our main objective is to come out here and play Utah Jazz basketball.
"That’s something early on that I have learned that no matter what the score — if you lose by one, somebody beats you on a buzzer-beater, if you play hard, that’s something that they appreciate."
— Big Al hopes to never be part of a historical clunker like the Jazz struggled in Monday while falling behind by as many as 50 points to the Rockets.
“It just wasn’t there for us that night. The three years I’ve been here, we’ve never just really played that bad. Everybody just played bad at one time,” Jefferson said. “That’s one of them games that’s going to happen hopefully only once in every 10 years. Next time, I’ll be ready to retire when that happen again, hopefully.”
— No Jazz players were selected to participate in the Rising Stars Challenge — the annual rookies/sophomore game in which Hayward and Derrick Favors excelled in last year. Second-year big man Enes Kanter was the team’s most likely invitee.