This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
It's been a difficult month for ex-Jazz center Memo Okur.
Just before Christmas, Utah traded him to New Jersey.
Since he's been a member of the Nets, Okur has been adjusting to a new system and new teammates while continuing to deal with a sore back.
In the Jazz's 107-94 win over New Jersey on Saturday night, Okur scored nine points. But he committed four of the Nets' 16 turnovers and was 0-for-3 on his trademark three-point shot.
It was a so-so night for a player who has enjoyed so many memorable ones at EnergySolutions Arena.
"It was fun," Okur said, when asked about his return to Utah. "It could have been more fun if we had a 'W' tonight. But it was nice to see family and friends."
What does Okur miss most about Salt Lake City?
"A little bit of everything," he said. "The city. The fans. Family. It's been like seven years. It was like my second home here. That's how I felt. So it was nice to be here."
When Okur was introduced before the game, he received a loud ovation from the 19,557 fans who attended.
"It was a good feeling," he said. "I really appreciate the fans [who] came out tonight. They showed me some love. That was a good feeling."
Playing back-to-back after a 110-103 win at Phoenix on Friday, Okur thought the Nets "… got a little tired. We missed a lot of shots. We missed shots we made last night. We just ran out of gas. So it was a rough night. We're going to have to let it go and move on."
Another former Jazz player, Kris Humphries, played well.
He finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds, including six on the offensive end.
Slumped at his locker, Humphries blamed a slow start for the Nets' undoing.
"I'm still digesting it," he said. " I'm trying to figure if we came out super flat or they came out and jumped on us with great energy.
"I know their forwards were really aggressive early and we didn't match their physicality or intensity and it just went from there."
Just before halftime, Utah owned a 50-40 lead. But Paul Millsap dunked and Raja Bells scored five points in 25.3 seconds to put New Jersey in a 17-point hole.
"Yeah, we made our push and they bounced back," Humphries said. "… You have to give them credit. They have some guys who were under the old regime [Jerry] Sloan with that system and they're still running it. They're doing a pretty good job with it. Their inside play was pretty good tonight."
Like Okur, coach Avery Johnson cited the Nets' low energy level as one of their biggest problems.
"We got off to a slow start tonight," he said, "and just couldn't recover. We had a little spurt there in the middle of the second quarter but then they closed the first half on us. …
"We played against a team that was really energized. They got all the 50-50 balls. We could not get a loose ball, we didn't shoot the 'three' well and they scored 64 points in the paint. I think that tells the whole story of this game."
New Jersey shot only 43 percent for the game 39 percent through three quarters and missed 19 of their 27 three-point attempts.
"We didn't make the extra pass tonight, either," Johnson said. "There were times when we could have made the extra pass and helped our spacing … and put more pressure on their defense. Unfortunately we didn't do that."