SALT LAKE CITY — Thursday's loss to the defending NBA champions didn't sit well with the Utah Jazz.
That soul-gnawing and agonizing feeling, the team believes, is a good thing..
"We're upset," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said at Friday's practice. "I think everybody's right to be upset, because it's a game that we should have won.. We had an opportunity to win it."
That's the especially upsetting part for the Jazz.
They felt the same way about this 94-91 heartbreaker as they did the disappointing overtime loss to the Los Angeles Lakers a week earlier.
"People are taking it seriously," Jazz guard Raja Bell said. "People (have) really bought into what's going on here. You always want your team to be upset when you have a tough loss like that."
It's a familiar feeling.
The 9-5 Jazz had two top teams in the NBA on the ropes at EnergySolutions Arena, and they weren't able to eke out a victory either time. Against L.A., their five-game winning streak was snapped. The Mavs ended an ensuing three-game spurt.
That's better than being blown out like they were early in the season, but it's not satisfactory for a team that's shown it's capable of pushing for a playoff spot in a rebuilding season.
"We've got to get to the point where we win those games," Jazz center Al Jefferson said. "That's what makes the Lakers and Dallas so special. They're a veteran team and they find a way to win. We've just got to get to that point."
RAJA JUNIOR? Raja Bell's sons Dia and Tai can now call their newborn baby brother by his name: Zen Phoenix Bell.
After his third boy was born a week ago Tuesday, Papa Bell said he and his wife, Cindi, wanted to spend time with their new bundle of joy and "figure out exactly who he is" before naming the family's 4-pound, 12-ounce addition.
Trey was a leading name candidate, but they opted to give him a name that happens to have tranquil and enlightened Buddhist connections.
"He was such a cool baby, didn't cry much, didn't make a fuss and still really doesn't," Bell said. "So we just said 'Zen' was a fitting name for him."
Bell didn't elaborate on the middle name, but he did play and excel in Phoenix for the Suns from 2005-08.
INJURY UPDATE: Josh Howard was able to practice on a limited basis Friday, a good sign that his strained left quad is healing.
"As days come, I'm going better," he said. "That comes with the work I've been doing with (trainer Gary Briggs)."
Howard has missed three games, but his status is still day-to-day, so it's not known if he'll play tonight against Minnesota. He's hopeful, though.
"I don't like being in my suit — as good as I look," Howard said, smiling.
SPAIN IS COMING: The Jazz will get their first look tonight at 21-year-old Spanish sensation Ricky Rubio, who's tearing it up for Minnesota. The rookie is averaging 10.7 points, 8.3 assists, 4.6 rebounds and a whole lot of razzle-dazzle for the up-and-coming Timberwolves.
"I've seen the YouTube clips and I've seen the SportsCenter exposes on him," Bell said. "I'm sure he's a really good player or there wouldn't be that much hype surrounding him."
Email: [email protected]