He complained about it after the Jazz's loss to Houston last Thursday. He complained about it, too, after the Jazz's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.

It is the Jazz's porous defense, and it has coach Jerry Sloan hoppin' mad — so much so he called it "terrible" after the Jazz lost 119-109 in L.A. on Sunday

So much, then, for all the preaching.

"I don't think it's doing much good," Sloan said.

The numbers back up his contention.

In four games so far this season, the Jazz are yielding more than 107 points per game. Last season, opponents averaged just 98.6 points vs. Utah.

And the case can't be made that it's just because the Jazz happen to have opened the season against traditionally high-scoring franchises, because the three teams Sloan's club has faced so far averaged only 101 against Utah in the 2006-07 season — and that includes one 132-point game by the Lakers and a 126-point game by Golden State.

So what's going wrong?

Besides having to face the likes of stars Kobe Bryant, who had 33 points Sunday, and Tracy McGrady, who dropped 47 Thursday, the Jazz offer some thoughts.

"(The Lakers) had 13 points off fastbreaks in the first half," point guard Deron Williams said. "(Getting back) is something we've got to work on — especially in the West, because a lot of teams get out and push it. You know, Golden State got a lot of fastbreak points (19 in each of two meetings). When we play Phoenix, they're gonna break. There are teams that break in the West, and we've got to be ready for 'em."

"Sometimes we get mixed up a little bit, lost," starting power forward Carlos Boozer added. "We have to do a better job of clamping down. Teams are really good offensively, so we have to do a better job defensively to have a chance."

Sloan offered more specifics.

"Andrei (Kirilenko) is the only shot-blocker we have," he said. "But how many charges did any of the other people pick up? If you can't block shots, you have to get there with your body — and we never did do that (Sunday). That's how we lost the game (against) Houston (too). Their guys got to us and drew fouls against us."

OFFENSIVE REMARKS: Defense is not the only source of Utah's woes.

Asked if he thought the Jazz were getting too caught up in playing their opponents' style instead of their own, Sloan said, "Well, I don't what ours is right now. You know, grab the ball and shoot it — I don't know if that's much of an offense."

MISSING MARSHALL: According to the Akron Beacon Journal, ex-Jazz forward Donyell Marshall of the Cleveland Cavaliers has been "shut down" for a week and "will likely miss several games" because of his sprained right wrist sustained last Wednesday vs. Dallas.

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That means Marshall probably will miss Cleveland's visit to EnergySolutions Arena on Wednesday night — the Cavs' only appearance in Utah this season.

ALUMNI UPDATE: Ex-Jazz big man Ike Austin is working as an assistant coach for the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA Development League, where according to the New York Daily News "assistants get around $30,000."

The Jam — whose head coach is Jim Harrick, the former UCLA head coach and Utah State assistant — are affiliated with Golden State and Sacramento.

HE BLOGGED IT: Jazz rookie Morris Almond, on NBA.com: "Now that I write a 'blog' on NBA.com, does that indirectly make me part of the media? I guess it does — might as well use it to my advantage. So from here throughout the rest of the season, I'll just use part of the Web log to clarify whatever I feel the need to. Whenever I read something that I don't really agree with, whether it be about myself or one of my teammates, I'll just post a response or an explanation right here. That'll keep the universe balanced, and everything will be in the proper perspective."

E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com