Thabo was huge at the end. He guarded LeBron straight up in moments where he usually gets to the basket. —Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell
SALT LAKE CITY — It was easy when only two of the players were healthy, but now that Thabo Sefolosha, Jonas Jerebko and Joe Johnson are all healthy, it’s difficult for Jazz coach Quin Snyder to give each player significant minutes at the power forward position
“Those guys all have different strengths, they’re different players,” Snyder said. “It’s virtually impossible to play three people at one position. In talking to them, players would rather know their role than go in the game and play just six minutes.
But there’s a number of factors where it’s matchups or rest.
On Saturday night, it was Sefolosha’s turn for the minutes as the defensive specialist was assigned to guard the planet’s best player, LeBron James.
Sefolosha, who didn’t even play earlier in the week against Denver, was especially effective in the second half when James only managed nine points and couldn’t score down the stretch when his team needed baskets. He also frustrated James enough that the two had words with each other, drawing technical fouls for both in the third quarter.
“Thabo was huge at the end. He guarded LeBron straight up in moments where he usually gets to the basket,” said Donovan Mitchell.
“Thabo is competitive and we know what kind of defender he is,” said Snyder.
"Thabo had a great defense on LeBron," added Ricky Rubio.
While Sefolosha played 31 minutes, Johnson played 16 and Jerebko three minutes.
“For those guys, it’s a challenge to be ready no matter what, and we try to be as transparent on the front end about what we see on minutes on a given night,” said Snyder.
UNFAMILIAR NUMBERS: The NBA has a lot of strange numbers these days, and the Cavaliers may lead the way with a starting lineup that features a 99, an 81 and a 0.
Jose Calderone is No. 81, the first in NBA history, while Jae Crowder sports 99, a number that George Mikan wore more than 60 years ago. Kevin Love is 0, a number that has been worn by several players over the years.
GAME NOTES: Next up for Utah is New Orleans on Wednesday night at home. Before the game, the Jazz announced that Rudy Gobert was re-evaluated earlier in the day and will be re-evaluated in another two weeks. Gobert suffered a knee sprain in the early minutes of the game in Boston on Dec. 15. Isaiah Thomas, who was acquired from Boston in an offseason trade, has yet to play for Cleveland this year because of an injury, but was rumored to be ready to play this week. However, he was still inactive for the Cavaliers Saturay night. Former Jazzman Kyle Korver, who is in his 15th season, got a warm welcome when he entered the game for Cleveland late in the first quarter Saturday night. Korver finished with 0 points on 0-for-5 shooting in 18 minutes. The Jazz finished December with a 5-10 record.