SALT LAKE CITY — Some years, the Jazz are out of town during Thanksgiving. Some years they’re returning home after a road game the night before. Some years they’re preparing to leave on another trip.
So it’s nice for the players and coaches to be able to be home for the next several days and get Thanksgiving Day off. Following their week-long road trip, the Jazz are in town until No. 30.
“It’s always good to be home during the holidays and have family come out,” said Rodney Hood. “I got my in-laws coming in and we’re going to cook some food and get a chance to relax. We also get to play in front of the home crowd, so hopefully it will be a good thing.”
Thabo Sefolosha, a native of Switzerland, is one of seven foreign players on the team who don't celebrate Thanksgiving in their countries, but he said he’s welcomed the Thanksgiving holiday over the past dozen years he’s been playing in the NBA.
“I’ve been in the U.S. for 12 years, so I kind of embrace that,” he said. “I’ve got family in town. My wife talked about baking a turkey, so I guess it’s become a tradition.”
DIFFERENT DEFENSE: With Rudy Gobert out of the lineup, the Jazz have had to change their defensive philosophy while not giving up their defensive principles. Coach Quin Snyder used a football analogy to explain how his team has had to adapt since Gobert went out five games ago.
“It wouldn’t make sense to play the same way,” he said. “It’s like having a football team and you’re a passing team and suddenly you become a running team. Who your quarterback is and running backs are, impact that, but more than anything you’ve got a line that’s pass-blocking as opposed to run-blocking. There’s different points of emphasis on similar principles of different coverages.”
Snyder pointed out his team has had just one practice in the last two weeks and said it takes time to make adjustments.
“The philosophy baseline is the same, but we have to go about protecting the paint and contesting shots and doing those things different ways,” he said. “Our defense gets more extended and we’re in more rotations and those things take time. Those habits are contrarian in some ways to the way we play when Rudy is in the game where we’re able to stay home and utilize him. But our guys have done a really good job.”
JAZZ NOTES: The Jazz will play Milwaukee Saturday night at home and Denver Tuesday night. Then it’s back on the road for a game at the L.A. Clippers on Thursday before playing New Orleans Friday . . . With Joe Johnson and Gobert still sidelined, the Jazz went with the same starting lineup of recent games with Jonas Jerebko starting at the four spot along with Derrick Favors, Joe Ingles, Donovan Mitchell and Ricky Rubio . . . The Jazz and Bulls are one of a few teams in the league that have six players averaging in double figures . . . Former University of Utah coach Jim Boylen is the associate head coach of the Bulls . . . The Bulls play at Golden State Friday, wrapping up their road trip.