With tonight's home opener against Houston squeezed between Tuesday night's season-opening win over Golden State and Saturday night's rematch with the Warriors, much of the talk Thursday morning was about how the Jazz will have to adjust to a different style of play against the Rockets.
And it's not just that.
With Rick Adelman as its new head coach, not current ESPN commentator Jeff Van Gundy, Houston also will have a different style compared to when the Jazz beat the Rockets in the opening round of last season's NBA playoffs.
"Rick has always pushed the ball up the floor and looked for easy opportunities," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said of Adelman, the former (New Orleans) Jazz player who previously has coached Portland, Golden State and Sacramento.
"It puts a lot more pressure on you with your big people to try to keep (7-foot-6 Rockets center) Yao Ming away from the basket in an up-tempo game," Sloan added, "because he has the ability to go right to the basket and you can't keep him away from it the way the rules are and that will certainly be a tough assignment for us."
Chief among those drawing the task of dealing with Yao whose towering presence is unlike any the smaller Warriors present will be All-Star center Mehmet Okur, just like he did during the seven-game postseason series between Utah and Houston.
Okur got into early foul trouble in the Jazz's opener against Golden State and wound up scoreless, but teammates figure he'll get back on track this evening at EnergySolutions Arena.
"Golden State is a little bit quick and fast team," forward Andrei Kirilenko. "They're running too much. That's kind of hard on your big guys.
"But tonight is a different story," Kirilenko added. "He (Okur) will have much more looks, especially with Yao guarding him."
Meanwhile, Sloan suggested backup forward Matt Harpring who played just eight minutes against Golden State because of his surgically repaired right knee will be monitored closely again tonight."I don't want to put him in too tough of a situation at this point ... but we've got to try to win and try to get him ready to play," the Jazz coach said.
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