When emerging center Enes Kanter dislocated his shoulder last week, the Jazz were concerned how they would replace him.
Before the injury, Kanter scored at least 10 points in nine of the previous 13 games, topped by a 23-point, 22-rebound performance against Charlotte.
Kanter had become a foundation player on coach Tyrone Corbin’s second unit, often overmatching the opposition’s backup bigs with his strength and improved offensive game.
Kanter won’t play Wednesday night against Denver. Officially, he is out “indefinitely” after being injured in a scramble for a loose ball with Suns’ center Hamed Haddaddi.
“He’s progressing,” Corbin said before Tuesday morning’s practice. “… But it’s going to be a day-to-day thing — seeing what gives him the best chance to get better.”
In Kanter’s absence, Derrick Favors has gotten more playing time and his production has jumped. In the last three games, he averages 14.7 points and 8.7 rebounds in 26 minutes.
Compliments of Corbin
Corbin credits his players for their current five-game winning streak — the longest in the Western Conference.
“We’ve continued to play,” he said. “… It’s a long season and sometimes you aren’t playing your best basketball. But if you continue to work, stay focused [and] stay together, you have a chance to work it out.”
Before the winning streak, of course, the Jazz lost 12 of 15 games and dropped from seventh to ninth in the Western Conference playoff race.
“It’s just how this league is, man,” Corbin said. “I played … and sometimes you get in a rut. Hopefully it’s just one or two games and not three, four or five games. But then you get out of it.
“It’s some fatigue. It’s some scheduling. It’s one or two of your key guys not shooting the ball [well] at the same time. But you just have to stay together and stick to your guns.”
Missed the dunk
Corbin admits he did not see one of the most spectacular dunks of the Jazz season developing during Utah’s 112-102 victory over Portland on Monday night.
Late in the game, Jamaal Tinsley was leading a fast break when he lobbed the ball to the rim. It didn’t appear anyone was there, but Jeremy Evans flew in from the wing and dunked.
“When [Tinsley] threw it,” Corbin said, “I didn’t see Jeremy coming down. … I’m like, ‘What the heck?’ So that’s just Jamaal seeing a play before it’s there — before everybody else can see it. It was a tremendous pass and a great run by Jeremy to catch up to the ball and finish it.”
Reporter Bill Oram contributed to this story.