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For young Jazz, will things be better the second time around?

Published October 16, 2013 4:15 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated.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 first time the Jazz saw Portland this year, it didn't end well for Utah.LaMarcus Aldridge was 8 for 9 from the floor, Damian Lillard went off for 23 points and 5 assists, and the Jazz suffered a double-digit loss to the Blazers in Boise.So for Utah, one of the youngest teams in the league, it will be interesting to see what happens the second time around.The Jazz just finished up shoot around before tonight's preseason game against Portland at EnergySolutions Arena. Gordon Hayward and John Lucas III, the projected starter at point guard in place of the injured Trey Burke, both said they think second looks at teams will benefit Utah this season."Now you get to watch film. You get to watch the plays they did. You get to hear the calls and know what actions are coming," Lucas said. "Now we can prepare better for the team than not seeing them play, not knowing who is playing."The Jazz will get second chances at a number of teams early this year. Before November ends, Utah will see Phoenix three times and Oklahoma City, New Orleans and Golden State each twice."It will be a learning experience for us," Hayward said of Utah's second matchup with Portland. "See how much we've grown from that last game, and how much we can take what we didn't' do well and what we've been working on in practice and try to apply them to this game tonight."Opportunity knocks for LucasIn five NBA seasons stretching back to 2005, Lucas has made just two career starts.Now he is poised for an extended opportunity to start for the Jazz, and the veteran backup said he's ready for the chance."You never know what happens in this league — trades, injuries, stuff like that — or when your opportunity is going to come," Lucas said. "That's what practice is for. That's why you go into practice thinking, 'Every time I go in there I'm playing like it's a game.' So when your opportunity comes and your number is called, it's like second nature to you because you've been preparing for it your whole entire career, your life."Lucas called himself a "scoring guard" and said he won't change his mentality or his game now.I've had some coaches want to turn me into a passing point guard. I've had some coaches just let me go out there and play my game. And [Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau] and [Utah coach Ty Corbin] let me go out and play my game."It's worked for him in the past. In his first career start, Lucas had 25 points, 8 assists and 8 rebounds. His second start saw him score 8 points and notch 2 assists.Favors hopes to find his rhythmDerrick Favors has gone a combined 4 for 16 from the floor in Utah's last two games, both losses. The Jazz forward said he's not receiving extra defensive attention and that he just hasn't found a "rhythm" offensively."I'm just missing shots," he said. "My shot's off right now, but I've been working on it. Hopefully it will start falling."McGuire out with injurySmall forward Dominic McGuire has a sore right ankle and will not play tonight.The journeyman, who is looking to make the roster, played in all three of the Jazz's previous preseason games, averaging just over 3 points in 14 minutes a night.

— Aaron Falk