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Utah Jazz: Spurs coach Gregg Popovich looks at Jazz's silver lining

Published: Monday, March 17 2014 10:00 p.m. MDT

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz, Sunday, March 16, 2014, in San Antonio. San Antonio won 122-104. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) (Eric Gay, AP) San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz, Sunday, March 16, 2014, in San Antonio. San Antonio won 122-104. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) (Eric Gay, AP)

HOUSTON — Things are rough for the Utah Jazz right now, no doubt. The team has lost five straight and 10 of 11 games. This rebuilding squad is just four setbacks from recording the eighth 50-loss season in the franchise’s 40-year history.

That’s one way of looking at it.

Let Spurs coach Gregg Popovich comfort you, Jazz fans.

Even after San Antonio routed Utah 122-104 Sunday night at the AT&T Center, Popovich spoke glowingly about Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin’s team, especially when it comes to how the players execute on the offensive end.

“It’s like in the blood in Utah. It doesn’t matter who is on their team,” Popovich said. “I think they set picks better than anyone else. They set up their cuts. They get in to you and they get physical.”

Spur's coach Gregg Popovich and NBA coach of the year looks on as the Utah Jazz are defeated by the San Antonio Spurs  87-81to be swept in game 4 of the first round of the NBA playoffs Monday, May 7, 2012, in Salt Lake City, Utah.  (Tom Smart, Deseret News) Spur's coach Gregg Popovich and NBA coach of the year looks on as the Utah Jazz are defeated by the San Antonio Spurs 87-81to be swept in game 4 of the first round of the NBA playoffs Monday, May 7, 2012, in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

Popovich didn’t stop there with the compliments for the Jazz organization.

“They really play the right way. I have respected them, as you know, for a long time,” he said. “It never changes. They do it for 48 minutes every night. It is just a heck of a culture that they have.”

TREY BIEN: Point guard Trey Burke didn’t have his best game Monday, finishing with 10 points on 4-of-13 shooting and five assists in a blowout loss to the Houston Rockets.

But both coaches had good things to say about the rookie.

“He’s played pretty well,” Rockets coach Kevin McHale said of the 21-year-old. “Like every young player, you find your way in this league, and he’s doing a nice job of it.”

Burke had averaged 18.5 points on 54.5 percent shooting in his previous four games.

Corbin reiterated that Burke’s “competitive buildup” is what will eventually help set him apart from the rest.

“The guy really wants to be one of the best to play in this league at his position. He’s willing to work and learn and understand,” Corbin said. “He’s a tough competitor and takes it to heart when he don’t have success. (He’ll) come back, learn, listen and work, watch film.

“He wants to get better and that’s what’s going to drive him to be one of the best players in this league at some point.”

FOUL, PLAY: Rookie guard Ian Clark got action in back-to-back games Sunday in San Antonio and Monday in Houston for the first time since mid-January. But he ended up with a weird stat line: two points, zero rebounds and assists, one turnover and a career-high five fouls in 10 minutes.

“He was amped up to get the opportunity (to play), but Alec (Burks, five fouls) got the same calls early,” Corbin said when asked about Clark’s foul situation. “They got into foul trouble so we had to try something different.”

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