Los Angeles • Al Jefferson's return to the Jazz lineup Sunday meant a return to the bench for his pupil.
After shining in his first career start on Friday, tallying 18 points and eight rebounds in a career-high 35 minutes, Enes Kanter reflected on the opportunity to fill in for Jefferson, who sat out the 131-99 win over Toronto with back spasms.
"It was a really good experience," he said. "It just taught me a lot of things. Now I have so much experience."
For weeks, Kanter had watched his minutes dwindle and the generally ebullient Turkey native had been quiet. After starting Friday, however, he was once again upbeat and chatty.
"I was really nervous before the game," Kanter said. "And then after I talked to Al and he just talked to me and I felt so much more comfortable. He gave me so much confidence."
Jefferson said if Kanter was nervous, he didn't show it certainly not like he was in his first career start, back on Dec. 22, 2004. Jefferson, then with Boston, started at forward for an injured Raef LaFrentz. Jefferson scored 12 points in a 114-99 win over New York.
"I was used to coming off the bench and playing against the other team's bench players and not against their starters," Jefferson said. "I was a little nervous. But we won the game and it was a good experience."
It's not often NBA players find themselves fighting for court time, but it happened Sunday at Staples Center. First, the Jazz canceled their pregame shootaround due to a matinee Clippers game. Then, when the team arrived at the arena at mid-afternoon, the floor was still being converted from that of the Clippers to the Lakers.
The process, which usually takes about two hours, cut into pregame activities for several members of the Jazz.
"When you get over here the floor's not ready," Corbin said, "and guys are waiting around to get out there to get their shots up early."
The Jazz travel to games on two buses the early bus and the late bus. Players wanting to get in extra workouts typically travel on the first. By the time Corbin arrived on the second bus, players who'd arrived earlier will still waiting for the court to be ready.
Favors still out
The Jazz expected to be at full strength for the first time in weeks Saturday, when both Jefferson and Favors were cleared to play against the Lakers. However, Favors was held out at the last minute after he did not like the way his foot felt during pregame warm-ups.