...we're gonna get there. We can't use the 'young' excuse; we can't use none of that at the end of the day. We just have to finish games. We're right there and we just need that one game. —John Lucas III, Utah Jazz point guard
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Jazz point guard John Lucas III insists that it's still early in the NBA's regular season and, once he and his teammates break into the win column, things will definitely get better for a ballclub that's off to an ugly 0-8 start.
Sure, they've suffered eight straight setbacks — 15 straight if you count the preseason — and with things seemingly going down the drain for the Jazz, wins have proved tougher to find than a plumber who works for free.
Nobody feels worse about it than Lucas, who fretted about Monday night's loss to the Denver Nuggets for several hours after the game ended.
"I hate losing. I hate it with a passion," he said prior to Tuesday's team practice session at Zions Bank Basketball Center. "It wasn't just that game; it's been all the games, all the games we lose.
"I go into like a shell. I go into where I'm not even in the room, I'm somewhere else. I'm just trying to figure out what I could've done, what we could have done better, the possessions we messed up on, the turnovers."
Lucas felt so frustrated by the latest loss that, when he got home late Monday night, he watched a tape of the game again.
It didn't get any better, but he still feels there's hope for the future.
"I try to see what it is as a team we're lacking," Lucas said. "We have the pieces; it is about us finishing now. I think that's the biggest thing is us finishing games now, us being mentally locked in for 48 minutes.
"And we're gonna get there. We can't use the 'young' excuse; we can't use none of that at the end of the day. We just have to finish games. We're right there and we just need that one game.
"I look at Boston; Boston got their first win against us and now all of a sudden they're on a roll," he said. "They beat Miami and I think they've had four games in a row now where they're on a winning streak. I think once we get that win and we get that feeling, I think it'll be the same way for us. ... We're gonna get there."
Lucas has been pressed into even more service since top draft pick Trey Burke was sidelined by a broken finger in the preseason.
Now Lucas is hoping that Jazz fans don't give up on the team too soon.
"It's still early. It's still early in the season and we're 0-and-8. You know how many games we have left?" he said. "It's tough because you want to win and you want to get that feeling.
"But at the end of the day, we've gotta stay together as a team, which we are. We have a great group of guys and we have each other's back. We won't let nobody talk about any guy on our team. You talk about one of us you've got to talk about all of us. ... As soon as we get this thing rolling and we get our first win, I think everything else will go down."
DON'T DO ME ANY FAVORS: Utah's promising young big man, Derrick Favors, had a strong 21-point, 13-rebound performance in Monday's game against Denver, going 8 for 15 from the field. He also had three blocks on defense.
"I was just taking my time in the post," said Favors, whose offensive game has struggled in the early season. "Normally I rush and try to force things, but I was just taking my time in the post, just reading my man defensively and just taking the right move."4 comments on this story
He also said it's far too soon for people to panic about the team's terrible start.
"We need a win. We're going through a slump right now," Favors said. "We just got to fight through it, stay positive and keep playing hard.
"It hurts a lot. Nobody likes to lose, and I don't like to lose — period. It hurts a lot, but we've just got to continue playing hard. We're still just trying to work things out, figure things out, just play hard and just stay together. Everything's still good; we've just got to continue to work hard."