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Utah Jazz: Big lineup still a work in progress

Published November 24, 2012 1:09 pm

NBA • Jazz have won two straight, but slow starts are troubling
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

Two games into the experiment of the Jazz's big lineup, Al Jefferson wanted to hear no talk of the unit, which he anchors, being ineffective.

"I thought we won the last couple games," the Jazz center said.

Yes, the Jazz [6-6] survived against Washington and blitzed Houston, but their new starting lineup, with Paul Millsap and Derrick Favors alongside Jefferson, has fallen into big holes early — 15-2 in Washington and 7-0 to the Rockets — and needed Gordon Hayward and Marvin Williams to come off the bench to breathe new life into the team.

"It's a 48-minute game, man," Jefferson said. "Things may not start off good, [but] this is the same conversation we would be having if things started off good and didn't end good."

On Friday, the Jazz play their first game since Monday's 102-91 win over Houston when they host the Sacramento Kings and popular former BYU guard Jimmer Fredette.

Coach Tyrone Corbin said on Thursday that he was still considering his starting lineup against the Kings, but does not address the media following home shootarounds, leaving lingering questions about how the Jazz will start against Sacramento.

The new Jazz lineup, which includes Randy Foye in place of Gordon Hayward, is minus-22.9 points in 36 minutes. The Jazz's most used lineup was the previous starting lineup, with Hayward and Marvin Williams in place of Foye and Favors. That group was minus-5.5 points.

"We've still got a lot of stuff we've got to work on," Favors said, "especially with the chemistry thing. We'll probably get it together."

Watson to return

Earl Watson will be back in uniform tonight for the Jazz, the team announced, after not playing since April knee surgery.

The veteran point guard was cleared medically last week, but had been held out while he continued to work on conditioning and timing.

boram@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribjazz