Utah Jazz notebook: Blow-by defense killing Jazz; Boise preseason game
SALT LAKE CITY — Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin knows his team has had a defense problem during its recent skid.
While losing eight of 10 games, Utah's generous defenders have allowed its opponents to average 105.5 points in those losses. The Jazz have been outscored by an average of 10.5 points in those eight defeats, too.
The biggest problem?
Al Jefferson as many outsiders are quick to point out? Not helping the helpers? Pick-and-rolls?
"The blow-bys," Corbin said. "The easy looks, the easy baskets. Our guys are just not staying between their man and the basket."
Corbin added that his players on the perimeter must do a better job, and then it's up to the big guys to be stingier.
"It starts on the ball," he said.
"I think it's defense all around. Everybody," Jefferson said. "Not just the outside. I think it's inside too. It's a team effort."
PRESEASON PLANS: The Jazz announced that they will play the Portland Trail Blazers in Boise on Oct. 11 as part of their 2013 preseason schedule.
This will be the Jazz's sixth exhibition contest in Boise but the first since 2003 — and eighth game in Idaho, including two Pocatello outings. Utah held its training camp in the Idaho city from 2005-09.
CenturyLink Arena will alter its court and seating arrangements to fit 5,200 fans for the game.
For tickets, ranging from $15-$40, call the Idaho Stampede, the D-League team hosting the game, at 208-388-4667.
Most of the Jazz's preseason schedule will be announced this summer.
STILL FIGHTING: The Jazz are a full game behind the Lakers (but tied in the loss column) going into tonight's game against the Grizzlies.
Utah feels fortunate to be in that playoff battle considering it has lost eight of 10 games.
"The blessing is you did your work earlier. You put yourself in a position to be still in the fight, but now you've got to fight. You've got to finish the fight," Corbin said. "We've got 17 games left and it's going to be a dogfight the rest of the way.
"In some ways we control our own destiny," he added. "We have to pick ourselves up. We haven't played our best basketball of late and we have time to figure it out."
STILL HURTING?: Corbin was asked if the team is still reeling from the three close-call setbacks last week in Milwaukee, Cleveland and Chicago.
"Losing wears on you," said the Jazz coach, whose team has lost four of five games. "You try not to let one game roll into another game. Those games are gone. We can't do anything about those, but we can do something about the games ahead of us."
"The main focus for us is where we want to be is still in reach," Jazz guard Randy Foye said. "That's our goal. No matter what anybody says, we still believe that we have a great chance of getting into the playoffs."
Foye sounded excited for the opportunity his team has to overcome this adversity.
"We're looking forward to taking the challenge. This is what you play ball for," Foye said. "You've got to step up as a man and as a basketball player. This is our job. I take great pride in it. I know our guys do. It's a fun time."
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