MINNEAPOLIS — Utah Jazz players woke up from their usual afternoon game-day naps with horrific news about the Boston Marathon bombing.
"It's sad," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "You go to an event and I'm sure there were people with their families just trying to enjoy the evening and something like that happens. It's just sad."
Former Boston resident Al Jefferson spoke in hushed tones while discussing the tragedy before playing a game that seemed extremely trivial considering the day's tragic events.
"Anytime something like that happens anywhere in the world, it always hits me pretty deep," said Jefferson, who played in Boston from 2004-07. "Anytime you hear things like that, it always affects you because that could happen to anybody — any of your loved ones or even happen to you."
It's the second time this season the Jazz have been on the road when a national tragedy has taken place. Utah was in Phoenix on Dec. 14 when the Sandy Hook shooting occurred.
"You think about it, especially when something like this happens," Corbin said. "You have to be aware of your surroundings. You pray and hope that you're covered and nothing happens. I'm sure those folk (in Boston) didn't expect anything like this to happen today."
Like the rest of the shocked nation, Corbin had a hard time focusing on anything but live coverage of the bombing before Monday's game.
"You turn it off," he said, "and it's still on your mind."
"It's pretty devastating," Jazz swingman Gordon Hayward added. "A pretty terrible incident."
NBA arenas make extraordinary efforts to keep teams and spectators safe, but the fact that this terrible incident took place at a sporting event gives cause for a pause for those who make a living playing in visible events in front of thousands of people.
"At anytime, some lunatic could decide to do something crazy. They have (to take) a lot of precautions," Hayward said. "But really, there's nothing stopping somebody. It's just something terrible that happened, but I don't think you should live in fear. It's definitely on your mind a little bit."
JAZZ NOTES: The Jazz improved to 43-38 with their 96-80 win over Minnesota on Monday. If Utah doesn't make the playoffs — by losing to Memphis or because of a Laker win Wednesday — this Jazz squad would become the winningest team in franchise history to not make the playoffs. The only time Utah didn't earn a postseason berth with a winning record was 2003-04, when the Jazz went 42-40 in the year after John Stockton and Karl Malone moved on. Former Jazz player Andrei Kirilenko had seven points, seven rebounds, four assists, one steal and one blocked shot against his old team. Utah improved to 13-27 on the road with their third-straight victory away from home. The Jazz swept the T-Wolves 4-0 this season with their sixth-consecutive victory over their Northwest Division rival.
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