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Posted: 4:08 PM- As he watched his team give up 63 points in the first half of Thursday's game, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan could only imagine what Portland's Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Oden had to be thinking as they sat out the last preseason game to rest.
"Those guys had to be licking their chops watching us play last night, sitting on the bench," Sloan said.
For all the talk about improved defense this preseason, the Jazz's final exhibition was a decidedly down note. The Jazz gave up 35 points in the first quarter and 63 points in the half, which Sloan saw as his team putting in no effort whatsoever.
Sloan also acknowledged the obvious Friday: That players believe they can flip the switch going from the preseason to the regular season, especially when it comes to defense.
"I think a lot of guys do," Sloan said. "That's where they get themselves in trouble as a whole. I think you've got to be consistent in what you do and how you perform."
The Blazers hit six three-pointers in the first quarter and eight for the half. They took further advantage of seven Jazz turnovers in the second quarter. Rudy Fernandez capped the half for Portland with a wide open backdoor layup off an inbounds play.
Although the Jazz gave up only 26 points in the second half, forcing four shot clock violations, Sloan was far from pleased.
"I don't think you can do cartwheels over the second half," Sloan said, "but you've certainly got to be concerned about the first half, when guys got lost completely and didn't even know where their man was."
For the preseason, the Jazz gave up 94.7 points on 44.8 percent shooting, including 120 points in an overtime loss to Denver. Asked about Portland's three-point barrage in the first half Thursday, Sloan again sounded dismayed.
"I think I could have made some three-point shots with nobody guarding me," he said. "You can close out all you want, but we close out close enough to be about 8 feet away. That's usually a pretty open shot."