If it seems like the Utah Jazz are making more 3-point shots than they ever have in franchise history, it's because, well, they are.
The Jazz knocked down a dozen more 3-pointers on Wednesday night during their 117-100 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves at EnergySolutions Arena. That gave them 27 bombs in two games when combining with the team-record 15 made on Monday night vs. Washington.
It marks the second time in two months the Jazz have had back-to-back games with 10 or more 3-pointers as a team. Amazingly, they had never had consecutive games with 10 or more 3-pointers in franchise history until this season.
In addition, the Jazz now have 375 treys for the 2007-08 campaign, with six games remaining. That means they are on pace for 405. The all-time season record for the team is 377, a mark they figure to pass Friday night during a key home game against the San Antonio Spurs.
Not bad for a team that doesn't have set plays with the intent of getting 3-point attempts.
"We don't have a single play for a 3. We don't have one," said Jazz 3-point specialist Kyle Korver. "Guys have been shooting the ball well."
Five different Jazz players connected from beyond the arc on Wednesday night, but it was center Mehmet Okur's three straight 3-point jumpers off of Deron Williams passes early in the third quarter that proved too much for the young T-Wolves. Utah led by just three points at intermission, but Okur's hot streak helped the Jazz to a quick double-digit advantage they would never relinquish.
"They weren't even plays," said Williams, of his back-to-back-to-back assists to Okur. "One of them was a pick and roll and I found him. Another one was a broken play and I found him, and the other one was in transition. I knew he was hot at that point, so I was trying to suck the defense in, and he was trailing for a 3."
Jazz coach Jerry Sloan has a well-deserved reputation as someone who prefers layups to 3-pointers, but he is quick to point out that he has nothing against good shooters taking open jumpers as long as there are offensive rebounders near the basket.
"The only thing I say is that if you shoot a 3-point shot and there is nobody around there to rebound it, that's an unfair advantage (for the opponent)," said Sloan. "Because you've got to make every single one of those because (if you don't) they are going to go down and score. . . . If we throw the ball inside and then kick it back out, I've never had a problem with 3-point shooting."
The fact that Utah is making more 3-pointers this season than in the past seems to be due to the fact that it has better shooters more than it has to do with any switch in philosophy by Sloan.
"These guys are all capable shooters," said Sloan. "Most of them."
"Coach Sloan is probably not liking it right now," joked Williams when asked about all of Utah's 3-point attempts. "Well, I guess as long as we're hitting them he's OK with it."
Okur, Williams and Korver all have 75 or more 3-pointers on the season and are making at least 38 percent of their attempts. Andrei Kirilenko has 40 treys on 37.5 percent shooting. C.J. Miles and Ronnie Price are also making better than 36 percent of their 3-point attempts."When (3-pointers) are going in, it's a good thing and coach doesn't say anything," said Korver, who was 3-for-3 from beyond the arc Wednesday. "So we'll just try to keep on making them."
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