Utah Jazz: Team needs Memo, 3s more than ever

Published: Friday, Oct. 9 2015 7:24 a.m. MDT

With four points and 2-of-8 field shooting, Mehmet Okur's Game 1 offensive production was as hard to find as ol' Waldo.
Since then, though, there's been no need to ask, "Where's Memo?"
The Jazz's starting center has four straight double-doubles in an ongoing NBA playoff series with Houston, including 16 rebounds in Utah's Game 2 victory and 18 in its Game 4 win.
That's from someone who had only two streaks with four or more consecutive double-doubles during the past regular season, with a high of five.
Okur also is averaging 12.0 points in the first-round series — well up from his 9.6 average in last year's opening-round series with the Rockets — and he's picked up some of the scoring slack created by the Rockets' defensive decision to keep All-Star Carlos Boozer from beating them down low.
"He's had opportunities," said coach Jerry Sloan, whose Jazz are up 3-2 in the best-of-seven series.
"They put a lot of pressure on, drop a lot of people in to help on, Boozer," Sloan added, "and (Okur) has a chance to get open a little bit."
Still, Sloan seeks more in tonight's Game 6.
Okur, too.
"We feel pretty good when he gets open shots," Sloan said. "But I think the biggest problem he's had is whenever he's hesitated on his shot and then tried to recover — forces a shot, or forces the play a little bit too much."
"Our 3-point shots (weren't) there for us," Okur said of Utah's 95-69 loss in Game 5, an outing in which the Jazz (who won Game 4 despite 0-for-14 long-distance shooting) hit just 2-of-9 from behind the 3-point line. "I'm going to try to mix up my game and try to get to the free-throw line to start the ballgame, or (get a) couple easy baskets. Then I step back."

BREWER PROBABLE: A sore right hamstring kept Jazz starting shooting guard Ronnie Brewer from practicing Thursday.
Brewer, however, is being called "probable" by the Jazz for tonight's Game 6.
The University of Arkansas product missed three regular-season games in late March/early April with a strained right groin, and he missed much of this past July's Rocky Mountain Revue summer league due to a strain in the same hamstring.
Brewer has been Utah's chief early game defender on Rockets star Tracy McGrady.
The Jazz guard is averaging 8.6 points and 0.8 steals per game in the series.

BIG DIFFERENCE: Brewer credits Rockets point Rafer Alston, who missed the series' first two games with a pulled hamstring, for reversing Houston's fortunes.
"Ever since (he) came back, they've been playing well ... He's been knocking down the jump shot. I can't say we're not used to it or didn't expect it, but he's shooting better than what we kind of expected him to shoot," Brewer said. "We knew he was a guy who can get to the basket, and you have to respect the dribble-drive, but when he's stepping back knocking down deep shots of the glass.
"He's a tough player. And he gets all his teammates involved," Brewer added. "He gets T-Mac (McGrady) the ball in the right situations ... and then he's scoring, so it's another option for his team. He's really playing well, and for their team, they need him to play well. I think it was a different team when he wasn't out there."

TAPEGATE: As threatened, the Rockets really did send a tape — actually, DVD — to the NBA highlighting the Jazz's supposedly overly physical play in Game 4.
"I would say we develop themes of issues we think aren't being officiated correctly," Rockets general manager Daryl Morey told the Houston Chronicle. "Then we put together the tape to demonstrate our point. I do believe it helps to work with the league in this way."
Rockets players sounded embarrassed.
"I have never been a fan of sending tape in and complaining," Alston told the Chronicle.

Contributing: Linda Hamilton
E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com

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