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News » Jazz take advantage of practice time

Jazz take advantage of practice time

Jazz take advantage of practice time
The games normally come fast and furious this time of year in the NBA, but not right now for the Jazz. They practiced Wednesday and likely will do so again three more times in the coming week, with coach Jerry Sloan placing a renewed emphasis on defense.

"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 at all. I think you concentrate on it a little bit and do a few little things."

Sloan said he wasn't about to stage "hamburger drills," but the Jazz are giving up 99.6 points on average, the most in 16 seasons. They allowed 109.2 points on their recently completed five-game trip, though skewed by a triple-overtime loss to Miami.

The Jazz will go over pick-and-roll defense, Sloan said, and also use the down time to recover from nagging bumps and bruises. The Jazz play at Oklahoma City on Friday, and not again until hosting Houston on Tuesday.

"It's good to practice," Deron Williams said. "This late in the season, you really don't have many breaks where you can get some good practice in. 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."


Starting Again

Sloan said Ronnie Brewer would return to the starting lineup Friday after his one-game benching for missing Tuesday's shootaround. Brewer responded with 13 points and five assists in 24 minutes in the Jazz's victory.

"That's behind us hopefully," Sloan said. "I thought he did a good job. That's the important thing, because we need all 12 guys to be on the same page and hopefully ready to play every night."


Not OK

Before their collapse in Miami, the Jazz's most difficult loss of the season came in falling 114-93 to the Thunder on Jan. 14 to Oklahoma City. Kevin Durant , Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook combined to score 66 points while Nenad Krstic had 14 off the bench.

"That was a bad one," Williams said. "Looking back at how bad they beat us, we definitely remember that."

Oklahoma City was a league-worst 6-33 coming into the game, yet brought the Jazz's four-game winning streak to an end. The Jazz can avenge that loss Friday, but the Thunder are coming off a 78-76 victory over San Antonio on Monday.

The game will have ramifications in the Northwest Division race, where the deciding tiebreaker between the Jazz, Denver and/or Portland could be division record.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: March 19, 2009


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