The Jazz have lost four of five games since starting point guard Mo Williams returned from a 21/2-month absence because of thumb surgery.
Williams has struggled to regain top form and, according to coach Tyrone Corbin, the Jazz have struggled finding their chemistry after playing without him for 32 games.
“It’s thrown us off a little bit — more than I expected it to,” Corbin said. “We tried to work him back in slowly in the beginning ... but it seems to have thrown us off.
“It’s not his fault. It’s just the way we are right now. So we have to figure out what it is and get back to winning ball games.”
Williams played well in Utah’s 103-90 win over Detroit on Monday night. He scored seven of his 20 points and handed out six assists. In the four losses, however, Williams averaged 5.7 points on 9-for-34 shooting. He had 16 assists and 17 turnovers.
Williams admits coming back from an injury is difficult, especially in the middle of a playoff race. The Jazz are battling Golden State, Houston, the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas for the final three playoff berths in the Western Conference.
“Just getting acclimated — getting the rhythm back — it’s always tough,” Williams said. “This is my first time coming back in the middle of the year — at a point in the season [where] every game means a lot. You have a lot less time for mistakes. ... Hopefully, it happens sooner rather than later.”
“It’s hard to explain,” he said. “But at the end of the day I’ll continue to work hard. ... My game is predicated on durability, endurance and speed.
The Jazz catch a big break in the schedule with upcoming home games against Memphis (Saturday) and New York (Monday).
Both teams are finishing long road trips and will be playing back-to-back against the Jazz.
“We can’t count on that,” Corbin said. “We’ve got to play. We’ve got to play with maximum effort and a lot energy or we’re setting ourselves up for failure. ... We have to make sure we do what gives us a chance to win.”
Before Friday morning’s practice, Corbin admitted he’s contemplating some changes to his starting line-up and rotation.
“We’re thinking about it,” he said. “We’re thinking about a lot of things right now. I do have something in mind. But I’ll wait until [Saturday]. We’ll do a few things in practice and see.”
“We’re not playing well right now,” Corbin said. “It’s not what we’re looking for. So we have some other things to consider, so we can settle down and win. We have to fight for our lives here. We want to make sure we do everything we can.”
The Jazz have won 10 straight over Memphis in Salt Lake City, going back to Jan. 24, 2007.
The Grizzlies are locked in a battle with Denver and the Los Angeles Clippers for homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
“Memphis is a physical defensive team,” Corbin said. “They’re going to have their hands on you the whole time. This is a hard-nosed ball club that wants to control the tempo and beat you up — a complete team that’s playing very well right now.”
Jazz vs. Grizzlies
O Energy Solutions Arena
Tipoff • Saturday, 8 p.m.
TV • ROOT Sports, NBA TV
Radio • 1280 AM/97.5 FM
Records • Jazz 33-32; Grizzlies 44-20
Season series • Grizzlies 2-0
About the Jazz • The Jazz’s last win against a team with a wining record was Feb. 19 when they defeated Golden State. … They have lost eight of their last 10 games overall. … Since Mo Williams returned from injury, the Jazz are 1-4.
About the Grizzlies • Memphis has won three straight games in the series dating back to last season. … The Grizzlies have one of the league’s best defenses, allowing a league-low 89.4 points per game.