ATLANTA — The first time Mehmet Okur missed a game after straining his shoulder early last week, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan started backup power forward Paul Millsap in his place against the fast but small Phoenix Suns.

Millsap responded with one of his best games of the season, posting a 20-point, 13-rebound double-double.

Rather than go back with Millsap in Utah's next outing, however, Sloan tapped backup center Jarron Collins to open in Okur's spot against Portland.

He did the same Saturday against Seattle, citing both matchups and the desire to have Millsap's defense coming off the bench.

It's a look, as long as Okur will be out, that Sloan seems to like.

"Jarron's fine," Sloan said of the fifth-year veteran who is averaging 1.8 rebounds and a team-low 2.0 points per game this season. "We execute pretty well when he's out there, and he passes the ball and tries to play the game the right way."

Sloan did not say who would start at center when the Jazz open a four-game trip tonight at Atlanta.

HE SAID IT: Sloan, after the Jazz ended a six-game losing streak with Saturday's win over Seattle: "We (Jazz coaches) are really cantankerous sometimes ... and people say, well, I'm not fair. I think players have to held accountable for what their job is ... "

HE SAID IT II: More from Sloan, who benched veteran backup shooting guard Gordan Giricek (again) in Saturday's second half: "Guys ... go to the newspaper, and talk to the newspaper, (saying), 'I want minutes, I have to have minutes to play.' They got out there, and they're not ready to play — then what am I supposed to do? I'm gonna play the guys that are gonna put effort in. You can't talk about 'em until your ears fall off. If they're not gonna put the effort in, hard to play 'em."

HE WROTE IT: David Dupree, in USA Today: "Second-year shooting guard Ronnie Brewer has not only started every game for the Utah Jazz this season, but he is in the thick of the most improved player race as well."

Brewer has scored in double figures for all but three of the Jazz's 24 games this season, and is averaging 13.5 points per game — third-best among all players behind only Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams.

That's nearly nine more points per game than Brewer averaged in 56 games last season.

He's also averaging 2.1 steals per game this season, more than tripling his average number of nabs as a rookie.

SOBERING THOUGHTS: On the same day late last week that an Illinois judge tossed out a 2 1/2-year prison sentence for ex-Jazz center Keon Clark, saying he deserves a new hearing, Clark — according to an Associated Press report — said "he is an alcoholic and was drinking a half pint to a pint of gin daily when he was playing pro basketball."

"I never played a game sober, unfortunately," said Clark, who played the final two games of his six-season NBA career — his only two with Utah — in 2003.

Clark said in court that he started drinking in high school and, after he was drafted in the NBA by the Orlando Magic in 1998, he drank at games during halftime, AP reported.

"It just never stopped," Clark said.

An Illinois judge ruled Friday that Clark should get a new sentencing hearing because he did not have legal representation when he was sentenced in absentia Oct. 10 on drug and weapons charges

According to AP, Clark remains in custody at the Vermilion County (Ill.) Jail.

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