Rodney Stuckey expressed surprise in the manner of Monday night’s 105-90 loss by his Detroit Pistons to the Utah Jazz, going as far as to call the Jazz “lucky” for their ability to make 3-point shots in the deciding fourth quarter.
Al Jefferson, before Tuesday morning’s practice, asked Jazz coach Ty Corbin if he would be allowed to hoist up shots from beyond the arc going forward.
It’s amazing what can happen when one of the worst perimeter shooting teams in the league statistically can, you know, actually start making shots.
Take the Pistons game as a shining example. Utah went 7 for 11 from 3-point land, making several with the shot clock winding down. This came after the Jazz didn’t attempt a single shot from behind the line in the first half. This came two days after attempting just three in a loss to the Chicago Bulls.
“It opens our offense up,” Jefferson said. “If we can make shots like that, then we become tough to defend. It’s kind of like a pick your poison thing, and it makes the rest of the offense flow a lot easier.”
As one who has seen a steady stream of double teams in the post for the last six weeks, Jefferson noticed the difference against the Pistons. With Devin Harris and C.J. Miles hot from the perimeter, he found himself suddenly being guarded mainly by a single defender, which made it that much more possible to go 14 of 18 from the field en route to a game-high 33 points.
With Jefferson and Paul Millsap going to work in the post, the secret has long been out around the NBA that the Jazz haven’t been the best shooting team. That has led to clogged lanes from teams daring Utah to shoot over them, which the Jazz haven’t exactly been successful at doing.
On Monday night, they were. Can it continue?
“It was good for us [Monday] night,” Corbin said. “Guys were making shots and making the defense pay. That’s something we have to do going forward. Teams are going to play us one way, and we have to make them pay.”
Despite the Corbin/Raja Bell dust-up over the weekend, the coach is sticking by his veteran shooting guard. So rookie Alec Burks appears to be the casualty. With Bell playing 28 minutes against the Pistons and Miles hot from the perimeter, Burks didn’t play at all.
Corbin said it was a one-game thing, with Burks’ inactivity a product of matchups. But he also acknowledged that it could be difficult getting time for Burks going forward, if Bell continues to see increased minutes.
“It’s tough, because I played all the time at Colorado,” Burks said. “But all I can do it be ready when my name is called.”
Josh Howard missed Tuesday’s practice with a sore Achilles’ tendon. He is expected to be ready for Utah’s game against Phoenix on Wednesday night.