DALLAS — The Utah Jazz offense struggled against Toronto's zone Wednesday, and Paul Millsap didn't hide his feelings for that strategy.
"I think zone defense are for college teams, high school," the Jazz power forward said, laughing. With a smile, he added, "Man up. Play mano y mano."
Funny he should mention school.
Professor Tyrone Corbin gave his team an upper-level zone refresher course at Thursday's practice.
"We've just got to prepare for it," the Jazz coach said, "and not let it throw our rhythm off."
The Raptors thrived defensively in their 111-106 double-OT win by clogging up the inside while Utah struggled outside (4-for-18).
Corbin wants more movement, cutting and in-rhythm shots when teams zone his squad that hasn't been successful from zone-busting range.
"We're capable of making shots," he said, "if we take the right shots, move our body."
Corbin expects to see zone again tonight in Dallas. The Jazz adapted to the Mavericks' zone D in last week's loss, but the champs benefited from it last season.
"If it's effective for (NBA teams)," Corbin added, "it's a good weapon for them to use."
Millsap conceded that his team needs to respond better.
"It's something we've got to work on because teams can't really match up with us," Millsap said. "They're going to go into the zone, so we've got to be more efficient in it."
INJURY UPDATE: Center Al Jefferson (right ankle tendinitis) and Raja Bell (sore back and right knee) didn't practice Thursday. Both players will be game-time decisions.
Jefferson underwent an MRI on Thursday, revealing ankle tendinitis but no further damage. After his first flare-up in late December, Jefferson said he hadn't taken medicine to keep inflammation down, allowing the old injury to re-emerge.
Bell played Wednesday, but his body got banged up. As he often does, Bell kept his lower back wrapped when he wasn't on the court.
Tonight will be the first time Josh Howard will suit up as an opponent in Dallas, where he played for his first 71/2 seasons. He was traded to Washington in 2010, but was injured (knee) when the Wizards made their first trip to the Big D with him last year.
Howard isn't waxing nostalgic.
"We've got to get up regardless if it's me going back or going anywhere else," he said. "It's a game we need to win."
Howard played 15 scoreless minutes Wednesday and is no longer bothered by his left quad.
"Ultimately, that's coach's decision," he said, indicating he doesn't believe his playing time needs to be restricted for health reasons. "I've just got to stay ready whenever he calls my number."
Email: [email protected] Twitter: DJJazzyJody