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Jazz notes: Defensive woes continue to be troubling

Published March 12, 2011 12:46 am

Jazz notes • New PG Harris says everyone not on same page.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Minneapolis • Devin Harris has worn a Jazz uniform for eight games. But the veteran point guard has already noticed an issue that has troubled everyone from Raja Bell to Deron Williams and Jerry Sloan since Utah's 2010-11 season began: The Jazz often do not play very good defense.

Harris said his new team's ability to put the ball in the basket is not a concern.

But after Utah was blown out by the Minnesota Timberwolves 122-101 Friday, the team's lackluster defense definitely is.

Asked for specifics about the Jazz's troubles, Harris asserted that the list was long. But he echoed current and former Utah members when stating that the primary issues center around a lack of communication, trust and help.

"Guys aren't on the same page," said Harris, who was held to eight points on 3-of-7 shooting, committed four turnovers and had two assists against the Timberwolves.

Utah's effort on the defensive end is not consistent. And when an opponent makes a run — as Minnesota did Saturday, rolling off an unsightly 31-6 barrage — the Jazz divide and fall apart instead of sticking together.

"When you play defense, guys should be on a string," Harris said. "If somebody gets beat, one guy helps, the other guy helps. We're not getting that."

Big night

Jazz rookie forward Gordon Hayward poured in a team- and season-high 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting while knocking down all five of his 3-point attempts. But the big numbers meant little to Hayward, who was as frustrated as anyone in Utah's locker room after the defeat.

"The win is all that I care about and we lost, so it doesn't matter," Hayward said.

Three's company

Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said that he does not plan to add another assistant to a three-person staff before the season is over.

The Jazz are down one coach, after Sloan and Phil Johnson resigned Feb. 10. Corbin replaced Sloan. But while Jeff Hornacek was promoted, no one has technically replaced Johnson.

Corbin said that a possible lockout has factored into the decision, as has the fact that Utah only has 18 regular-season games remaining.

"We'll just go the way we are we'll see how that works itself out once the time comes," said Corbin, who praised the work Hornacek has done since being added to the staff.

By not adding anyone, though, the Jazz also will not have a specific big man coach working directly with 19-year-old Derrick Favors, the No. 3 overall pick of the 2010 NBA Draft who was acquired in the Williams trade.


Utah forward Paul Millsap missed his second consecutive game due to left knee tendinitis. … Development League call-up Marcus Cousin scored four points and recorded two rebounds in 13 minutes for the Jazz. … Utah forward Mehmet Okur experienced swelling in his back following a Friday morning shootaround.

bsmith@sltrib.comTwitter: @tribjazz






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