Making his first appearance in an NBA uniform, Jazz rookie C.J. Miles can blame nerves for his 1-for-7 night in Utah's 73-62 loss to New York on Monday night. What is everyone else's excuse, particularly in that ghastly third quarter?
Yes, the Jazz were awful at times last year, but Monday's debacle was a record setter. Utah shot a franchise-record low 29.3 percent (22-for-75) for the game and Utah's point total tied the second-lowest in franchise regular-season history.
The worst of the worst came in the third quarter when Utah was 2-for-18. The only baskets made were by Milt Palacio and Andre Owens.
"You play so many games, something like this is going to happen," Devin Brown said as he rubbed his head, as if he was willing the images to leave his memory. "You just hate when something like this is going to be on TV."
Lucky for the Comcast subscribers, they didn't get to watch. For those who missed it, the play-by-play went a little like this: missed 25-footer, missed 20-footer, missed 24-footer, missed 23-footer.
"We needed to get the ball inside to Mehmet [Okur] and get back to the free-throw line," Brown said. "Some of our shots just wouldn't fall, but we took too many jump shots."
The jumpers didn't fall, but the enthusiasm did, with the morale almost as visibly low as some of the players' shorts. Losing is one thing, but showing your losing is unacceptable to Utah coach Jerry Sloan.
"We were feeling sorry for ourselves and hanging our heads," Sloan said. "A team loves to see that. That is when they know they have you whupped."
As bad as the Jazz were in the third quarter, the Knicks weren't much better, leading just 55-44 going into the fourth quarter. But not a chewing out by team owner Larry H. Miller nor a better performance from rookie Deron Williams, who was 4-for-6 in the final period, could muster a comeback from Utah.
"I was happy we weren't down by 25, or 30 or 40," Sloan said. "You look up at the scoreboard and think 'If we could get a little run, we can get a chance to get back in the ballgame.' ''
Making just two field goals in one quarter was just one more than the team's all-time low for a quarter. That record was set against New York on Jan. 27, 1992. Utah lost that game 97-80.
A member of that team was Tyrone Corbin, now an assistant with the Jazz.
"I don't remember that night, there are so many games, but when your jump shots won't fall and you're getting open looks, it's an awful feeling," Corbin said. "We were getting good looks at the basket, and they just weren't going in."
Utah was missing four starters, with Keith McLeod, Andrei Kirilenko, Carlos Boozer and Gordan Giricek all out, but inexperience and youth was no excuse for the third-quarter performance, according to Greg Ostertag.
"We stopped executing, especially in the third quarter, and we're not that kind of team, we have to execute," Ostertag said. "It's a long season and you're going to have some bad ones. It's just a matter of getting it together and pulling through."