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Sacramento, Calif. • To Jerry Sloan, it simply comes down to effort.
Discussing the Jazz's struggles defending the pick-and-roll, Utah's coach said Monday that his team has five options to draw from when guarding the play. But planned execution means little when his team does not perform in the aggressive, selfless style that the longtime coach requires.
"Am I going to say, 'Oh, wow. I got screened?' That's the biggest cop-out in basketball: 'I got screened.' Don't allow yourself to be screened," said Sloan, following a shootaround for a game Monday night against the Sacramento Kings.
Sloan's comments followed statements made Saturday by Jazz players about Utah's seasonlong inability to defend the play.
"After having played and been involved with it all the years, it's always interesting to see how things get started," Sloan said. "It's always somebody else's fault. Instead of stepping up and saying, 'Hey, I did a [crappy] job trying to defend the pick-and-roll.' "
Who's out and who's in?
Jazz center Francisco Elson was not in uniform for Utah's contest against Sacramento due an inflamed left knee.
Elson is scheduled to undergo a magnetic resonance imaging exam to evaluate the injury.
"I don't know how it happened," Elson said. "It's just sore. It might be tendinitis; that's what it does to your knee."
Meanwhile, Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko returned to the starting lineup after missing three consecutive contests due to a sprained left ankle. He played well during the first half against Sacramento, recording four points, four rebounds and an assist.
"I'm excited like a kid," Kirilenko said after shootaround. "But I have to be careful."
Sloan puts pen to paper
Sloan has officially signed an extension to coach Utah next season.
Sloan's signature was only a formality, though. He announced in November that he planned to agree to terms with the Jazz for his 24th season.
"It's not a problem," Sloan said. "Never has been a problem. It's just a matter of them doing and I doing it."