Jazz: Knight speaks up on need for tough defense

The backup point guard encouraged team to step it up.
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Backup point guard Brevin Knight isn't the biggest player in the Jazz locker room, nor is he most outspoken.

Knight is the most experienced player on Utah's roster, however, and he had a little talk with his younger teammates Monday night.

They were listening.

After Knight addressed the need to play improved defense against the L.A. Clippers at EnergySolutions Arena, the Jazz rolled to a much-needed 106-85 victory.

It was the lowest point total by an opponent since the Jazz posted a 90-85 win over Boston on Feb. 19 -- a span of 26 games. The Clippers shot only 43.8 percent -- the lowest by an opponent in nine games, going back to March 25.

"Before we came out for the game, B.K. said, 'The way we're going to win is defense,' " said Carlos Boozer. "B.K. started it up and we went up and played great defense. We know for our team to be successful, it's got to start on the defensive end and we did a good job tonight."

Asked why he spoke up, Knight said, "We need to go in ready to play. We've kind of been up-and-down the last two weeks and a lot of that was on the defensive end. ... We've got people who can score, but we aren't stopping anybody. That puts too much pressure on us to score, when we don't stop people."

The bottom line?

Knight said he simply wanted "to put the idea in people's heads: 'Let's put somewhat of a mark on the defensive end. Let's let the other team know it's not going to be easy -- easy pickings.' "

The Jazz limited the Clippers to 17 points on 8-for-22 shooting in the first quarter.

After L.A. took a 13-8 lead in the opening five minutes, the Jazz stopped the Clippers on 14 of their final 16 possessions of the period and Utah raced to a 30-17 lead.

The Clippers, who scored eight field goals during a 131/2-minute stretch of the first half, never got closer than 11 over the final three quarters.

"We played great D," Boozer said. "I'm proud of our guys for stepping up to the challenge. We played horrible D for the last however-many games. But we came out tonight and ... were aggressive.

"We were all over the court. We were diving for loose balls. We were scrappy. That's the Utah Jazz team that's going to have a chance to win. We've got to play that scrappy, that hungry, that determined in the playoffs to have a chance to win."

The Jazz's defense in their last eight games:

FG% Points Results

L.A. Clippers.43885Won by 21
Golden State.548118Lost by 10
San Antonio.500105Lost by six
Dallas.549130Lost by 29
New Orleans.53594Won by 14
Minnesota.533103Lost by one
Denver.467114Lost 10
Portland.618125Lost by 21