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Utah Jazz: With eye on Cavaliers, Jazz go back to work

Published January 17, 2013 4:13 pm

NBA • Corbin hopes team doesn't lose its edge during four-day break.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Jazz are back at work.

Coach Tyrone Corbin gave his players two days off after a 104-97 win over Miami on Monday, but practice resumed Thursday morning.

Asked about the mini-vacation, Al Jefferson smiled and said, "... It was good while it lasted."

The Jazz play Cleveland on Saturday night at EnergySolutions Arena, meaning they will go four days between games.

Corbin admits there is concern that his players could lose the edge they showed during recent wins over Miami, Dallas, Detroit and Charlotte.

"We have to make sure we understand we're still in a dogfight," Corbin said. "While we get our rest, we have to keep ourselves ready to play the game at a fast pace once we get back on the floor."

The Jazz will also practice Friday, which will give them another chance to "fine-tune some things on both ends of the floor" as they continue to play without injured point guard Mo Williams.

Corbin said, "... [We] just want to get guys more reps and look at a couple of more combinations because of where we are with injuries. Maybe put the ball in different guys' hands in different situations and get a look at those things."

Mo's return still up in air

Williams injured his thumb on Dec. 22 at Miami, and his timetable for a possible return this season has not been determined.

After starting 1-3, however, the Jazz are 7-5 in the 12 games since Williams was sidelined.

Jamaal Tinsley has been the starter, with Earl Watson coming off the bench. Second-year player Alec Burks has also moved from shooting guard and played some at the point.

"We have veteran point guards who are always ready, whenever they get into the game," said Paul Millsap. "They know the system and know how to play with different guys."

Playoff traffic jam

The Jazz are currently part of a seven-team scramble for the final three playoffs berths in the Western Conference.

Utah is tied for seventh place with Houston. But only 61/2 games separate sixth-place Denver and No. 12 Dallas.

"We've talked about taking care of our business and not worrying about what anybody else is doing," Corbin said. "But we have to continue to grow as a team."