If only he had a mulligan, Jerry Sloan might have played things a little differently in the third quarter of Utah's loss at Portland last Saturday night.
After watching Trail Blazers swingman Martell Webster score 24 of his career-high 26 points in the third, the Jazz coach suggested as much prior to practice Monday.
Webster, with the aid of several well-set screens from teammates, scored his first five baskets of the quarter on C.J. Miles, a replacement starter at small forward for the injured Andrei Kirilenko.
After Sloan pulled Miles, he rapidly ran through a long list of defensive options including Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer, a zone defense and even little-used Ronnie Price.
"I looked back at the films of it, because I questioned myself a great deal in the game with what I did," said Sloan, who also seemed to feel his perimeter players didn't get nearly enough inside assistance on Webster. "We did a very poor job trying to help a couple of teammates in tough situations on the defensive end of the floor. And I might have put a little bit too much pressure on them in that situation by substituting.
"But that's part of the growth process," he added. "If you want to play in this league, you've got to learn how to be a better defender and you've got to learn how to help your teammates. If you want to win. You don't have to if you don't want to win."
The Jazz's lack of aid defending off the baseline really did seem to be bothering Sloan on Monday.
"Not all of it is the guy that's guarding the guy with the ball," he said. "Our big people did a very poor job trying to help a guy play a guy under the basket.
"But in life, and basketball's the same way you have, to help yourself first and if you don't understand that, if you're always hollering 'help' before there's ever a need to do it, you're gonna bail out. You can't do that.
"I never thought you could," Sloan added. "Some guys athletically have enough ability that they can overcome a mistake. But most of us that played this game don't have that kind of ability. Michael Jordan and guys like that (did). The rest of guys that played ... they have to have a little bit of help for problems that come out in games."
KIRILENKO UPDATE: The Jazz are calling Kirilenko "doubtful" for tonight's home game against Indiana.
Kirilenko received treatment Monday morning for his ailing lower back but didn't practice. He also was scheduled to be re-evaluated later Monday, but Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor said Monday night that more would be known today.
The lanky Russian missed Saturday's loss at Portland due to what the Jazz have been calling lower-back inflammation an injury originally sustained late in practice Thursday.
The 2004 NBA All-Star Game participant has not played or practiced since.
If Kirilenko indeed is unavailable tonight, Sloan said Monday, Miles probably will make a second straight start in his place.
NO, SERIOUSLY: According to the Washington Post, ex-Jazz guard DeShawn Stevenson of the Wizards was one of three Washington veterans recently rearranging seating in the team's locker room.
Said Stevenson to the newspaper: "We've got too much joking and playing around going on in here before games."