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Utah Jazz notebook: Rockets' coach says Jerry Sloan, Deron Williams always give Utah hope

Published: Sunday, Aug. 2 2015 8:55 p.m. MDT

Utah Jazz forward Paul Millsap (24) tries to shoot over Houston Rockets' Shane Battier (31)during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011, in Houston. Millsap was charged for an offensive foul on the play. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan) (Associated Press) Utah Jazz forward Paul Millsap (24) tries to shoot over Houston Rockets' Shane Battier (31)during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011, in Houston. Millsap was charged for an offensive foul on the play. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan) (Associated Press)

HOUSTON — Even though they were in a rut before Saturday night's game, Rick Adelman was pretty positive the Utah Jazz wouldn't stay down.

He would've preferred if the Jazz hadn't bounced back in a big way against his squad after halftime and beaten the Houston Rockets 103-99 in overtime.

But the Rockets' coach has two big reasons why he believes the Jazz have won in the past and will continue to win in the future. He's been matching wits and blows against one of them for 20 seasons on the sideline. And his stomach turns while game-planning against the other.

Adelman's two reasons the Jazz have hope: Jerry Sloan and Deron Williams.

"His teams always are a challenge," Adelman said of Sloan. "You know they're always going to compete. They're going to play hard and they always execute extremely well."

Utah Jazz assistant coach Jerry Sloan with coach Frank Layden during a game in the mid 1980s. Sloan replaced Layden as head coach for the Utah Jazz in 1988. (Photo By Gary Mckellar, Deseret News Deseret News Archivesmichael Brandy, Deseret News) Utah Jazz assistant coach Jerry Sloan with coach Frank Layden during a game in the mid 1980s. Sloan replaced Layden as head coach for the Utah Jazz in 1988. (Photo By Gary Mckellar, Deseret News Deseret News Archivesmichael Brandy, Deseret News)

And this outsider credits No. 8, Utah's only current All-Star, for making that happen despite losing contributors in the offseason (he specifically mentioned Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver).

"I think they've done a great job of staying where they are. ... They still are winning games," Adelman said. "The system works, and Williams is the whole key. He's the guy the catalyst of the whole team and one of the best point guards in the league.

"So as long as he's there," Adelman added, "they're always going to be tough."

MILES REBOUNDS: In Friday's 110-99 loss at Memphis, C.J. Miles only played nine minutes and went scoreless.

Sloan even said he thought his small forward still looked under the weather. Miles wasn't sick anymore, and he didn't complain about his limited action but instead said he'd simply play when his number was called.

Twenty-four hours later, all went well again for the Texas native.

Miles was one of the few highlights for the Jazz in the first half, scoring nine points in the first quarter. He ended up giving Utah a nice boost off the bench with 16 points and five rebounds.

"I thought he played a lot harder," Sloan said. "He seems to have better results when he plays harder than if he just gets casual and hangs out on the perimeter for everything."

Miles hit 6-of-11 shots, including 2-for-5 from 3-point range, but the Dallas native made an effort to attack the basket against Houston.

"I just tried to be aggressive," Miles said. "(I was) just trying to make the defense have to guard me and not just be standing around out there."

Sloan noted and appreciated that and rewarded Miles with 21/2 minutes.

"He took the ball to the basket," Sloan said. "Even though he got a couple of offensive fouls, it was great to see him take the ball to the basket instead of relying strictly on outside shots."

HAPPY TOGETHER: Saturday's game was the 12th time the Jazz have rallied to win after trailing by double digits and, perhaps most impressively, was the seventh time they've overcome a deficit of 15 or more points.

It doesn't erase the fact they started off lousy again — scoring only 38 points in the first half while falling behind by 16 — but it at least reunited the team.

Sloan especially liked that they "stay(ed) together as a group" after suffering back-to-back losses for only the second time this season.

"Because when you lose a couple of games, it always gets kind of hairy sometimes and you've got to fight through that," the Hall of Fame coach said.

"And I was proud of the fact that we fought through to win the game," Sloan added. "It was our third game in four days. ... When you're on the road, you've got to fight through it, and I thought we did a good job of doing that."

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