When Jerry Sloan was asked about Milwaukee's Charlie Villanueva getting scolded by coach Scott Skiles for sending a tweet on Twitter during halftime of the Bucks' game against Boston last Sunday, the 66-year-old Jazz coach first had to be told what it was before realizing what had been done wrong.
Twitter is a free, social online messaging network in which short notes are posted in real time, and this reportedly was Villanueva's from Sunday: "In da locker room, snuck to post my twitt. We're playing the Celtics, tie ball game at da half. Coach wants more toughness. I gotta step up."
"I don't follow that," Sloan said. "I don't even have a computer. I don't know how to turn one on. I don't know what you're talking about. I'm going to be totally honest. How would you do that?"
Told it could be done with a mobile phone, Sloan — raised in a tiny, remote Illinois town — was further perplexed.
"I have a phone," he said, "but I don't know how to use it that way. . . . See, I grew up without a telephone until I was a junior in high school. And I've always been intimidated by that stuff."
When Jazz point guard Deron Williams joined the conversation, he had to be enlightened as well — or at least acted as if he did. Teammates Ronnie Brewer and Carlos Boozer also claimed to have little or no knowledge of Twitter, whose big fans include veteran NBA center Shaquille O'Neal.
But they're all much more technologically advanced than Sloan.
"Coach doesn't like it when we text," 24-year-old Williams said.
Sloan has a loosely enforced no-cell-phone rule on the team bus, and earlier this season had to deal with one players' actually ringing in a locker during a team meeting.
"Years ago, I would have put my foot on it and squeezed on it," the Jazz coach said. "But I'm too old to do that (now). I'm afraid I'll slip off of it and hurt myself.
"All that stuff is fine," he added.
"That's the modern time, and I just haven't progressed in that area."
PRACTICE? PRACTICE? With just one game in six nights, it coming Friday at Oklahoma City, the Jazz get to enjoy unusual down time before heading into their stretch run of 13 final games for the 2008-09 NBA regular season.
Chief on the itinerary during this unusual soft stretch, game against the Thunder of course notwithstanding: defense-focused practice, and body recovery.
"We've really struggled on the defensive end of the floor," Sloan said. "We've scored points. But our defense has not held up very good."
The Jazz, who after Friday will be idle until playing host to Houston on Tuesday night, plan to practice this morning.
Beyond that, at least two more off-day practice sessions are likely.
"This late in the season, you really don't have many breaks where you can get some good practice in," Williams said Wednesday, the day after Utah broke a three-game losing streak with its 25-point win over Washington. "So it'll be good for us to go over (things), put some schemes in and just work on stuff that's going to help us down the stretch."
Williams is among those hoping to get fully healthy, as is center Mehmet Okur.12 comments on this story
He bruised the area around his left fibula head, which is located just below the knee, in last Sunday's loss at Orlando. But he played without any evident problems Tuesday, and on Wednesday said, "I'm alright."
Okur practiced Wednesday, and said the ankle he sprained in last Saturday's loss at Miami is "better."
BREWER BACK: One game after not starting because he overslept and missed Tuesday's morning shootaround, shooting guard Brewer — according to Sloan — will be back in the opening lineup Friday.
"That's behind us, hopefully," Sloan said.
"I thought he did a good job (against Washington)."