Pride pushes Jazz's frontline to better game
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This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

On Sunday night, the Utah Jazz saw their frontcourt outplayed at Golden State by the likes of David Lee, Andris Biedrins and Louis Amundson.

But the good thing about the NBA is that it's a long season.

Perhaps that's why one shouldn't be surprised by the performances of Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and Andrei Kirilenko one night later. The three played with a touch of embarrassment in Monday night's 83-78 win over Charlotte and did so with tangible results.

All three produced double-doubles as Utah dominated the interior. All three played much better than they had against the Warriors. And that was a key for the Jazz, who were once again without Deron Williams.

"Last night we knew we didn't play well," Jefferson said. "But the good thing is that there are 82 games, and that you can put things out of your mind quickly. We tried to make it hard on Charlotte, we wanted to be more physical, we wanted to play better defense, and I think we did that."

Jefferson scored a game-high 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Millsap played through a dislocated finger and scored 14 points and secured 12 boards. Kirilenko played well in the second half, and dropped in 13 points while grabbing 11 rebounds.

As a result, Utah dominated the glass, grabbing 49 rebounds to Charlotte's 36. The trio also came up with seven blocked shots, so the impact was made defensively as well. The three, along with C.J. Miles and his 20 points, carried Utah, now 2-1 without Williams.

By contrast, the Bobcats' starting frontcourt of Kwame Brown, Gerald Wallace and Boris Diaw combined for just 22 points and 12 rebounds total.

You can see who the winner was.

"I thought they were terrific," Miles said. "They came out tonight and played hard. You definitely want to play well a night after you didn't play so well, and they did that. They scored, they played defense, they rebounded. They did it all."

tjones@sltrib.com