Utah Jazz: Down the stretch, struggling Jazz trying to make best use of extra practice time
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Earlier in the season, having a few days off in a row to practice was a welcome reprieve for the Utah Jazz — at least the coaches thought so. Now — at the end of a long season in which they've gone 23-52 and have only two more weeks to go until it's finished — players and coaches might feel like they just want to get it over with.
However, Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin is trying to make the best use of the remaining practice time.
The Jazz took Tuesday off after back-to-back games Sunday and Monday, but held practice at the Zions Bank Basketball Center Wednesday and will have another Thursday morning.
“It’s a chance to reflect back and focus,’’ Corbin said. “We’ve lost some games here of late and our guys are beat up mentally and physically. We have a chance to slow things down a bit to try to get ourselves refocused to finish up these last seven games.’’
This marks only the fourth three-day gap between games for the Jazz in their 82-game schedule. They had one in late November, another in late January and one in early February. In each of the four cases, the Jazz played on Monday and then not again until Friday.
As for the final seven games, Corbin said his team’s goals are “to compete, continue to work to get better, make sure we come out with a game plan to try and execute, and play hard.’’
MOTIVATION: There may not be much motivation for the Jazz, who are long out of the playoff contention. But Corbin says the players not under contract should be motivated, if nothing else, for their own well-being.
“These are crucial moments for everybody,’’ he said. “If you still want to play, everybody’s still evaluating, still watching. There are 29 other teams. I always tell the guys, 'You’re not just playing for us and yourselves, you’re looking to be looked at by the 29 other teams. So you have to put your best foot forward.'"
JAZZ NOTES: The Jazz play New Orleans Friday night at 7 p.m. at EnergySolutions Arena. ... Pelicans center Anthony Davis, who hurt his ankle four minutes into last week’s game against the Jazz, was considered “day to day” for Monday’s game with Sacramento, but he played 38 minutes and scored 22 points with eight rebounds. ... Of Utah's final seven opponents, only three — Golden State, Dallas and Portland — are playoff teams. ... No Jazz players rank in the top 10 of any NBA individual statistical categories. The best is Derrick Favors, who is tied for 14th in blocked shots with 1.47 per game.
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