Newark, N.J. • This time it was Al Jefferson's turn.
The Jazz center said Wednesday that his team sometimes runs the court with a couple players not knowing where they are supposed to be on the floor or what exactly is going on. The remark followed Utah's disappointing 103-95 road loss to New Jersey, and it is not the first time this season that a Jazz member has highlighted the lack of cohesion and overall confusion that at times has characterized the team's offense.
"I think at times one or two of the guys out on the court do not know what we are running," said Jefferson, who joined Utah last summer after playing six combined seasons for the Celtics and Minnesota. "It is no excuse halfway through the season. We should have the plays down, know what the plays are, and should know what we are doing."
Jazz guard Deron Williams has said more than once this season that his team does not know the plays, while guard Raja Bell has pointed out Utah's tendency to resort to one-on-one ball once the team's offense breaks down.
The Jazz rank 11th out of 30 teams in average scoring (100.8). But Utah scored just 16 points during the third quarter against the Nets, and the Jazz were held to only 39 points in the first half Monday during a loss to a struggling Washington team.
An inability to defend the screen-and-roll is severely hurting the Jazz, Williams and Bell said.
To Bell, Utah is a solid on-the-ball defending team. But the Jazz often end up in a dangerous position once an opponent turns to the screen-and-roll, as Utah scrambles to locate open shooters while the ball freely flies around the perimeter.
The Nets hit 50 percent (8 of 16) of their 3-point attempts, while New Jersey and Washington teams not known for their offensive prowess shot at least 49.3 percent from the field during victories this week against the Jazz.
"When you … can't get the ball stopped, it puts your team in a really, really precarious situation," Bell said. "Because everyone's now gotta converge to stop the ball, and everyone has to help the big who's stopping the ball. And your defense you're not playing D any more as man-to-man."
Williams went further, stating that the Jazz have struggled to guard the play since he joined Utah in 2005.
"Guys just come off and go down the lane," Williams said. "We can't figure out what we want to do; we're not in sync. Sometimes one guy's in one pick-and-roll defense and the other guy's in another. So we're just not on the same page."