El Segundo, Calif. • Gordon Hayward dribbled near mid-court, looking for one last shot before the halftime buzzer sounded Sunday night in Oklahoma.
As Enes Kanter came up to set a screen, Hayward tried to split two defenders and lost the ball. Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Reggie Jackson scooped it up, ran the floor and dunked it while getting fouled.
As he watched it unfold, Richard Jefferson saw a mistake of youth.
“A lot of the mistakes that are made are just inexperience,” Jefferson said when asked about the Jazz’s offensive struggles so far this preseason. “… That’s a high-risk, high-reward play. If you just drag out the two defenders and kick it, then somebody’s going to get an open shot, and that’s what you want at the end of the quarter.”
Instead of cutting the Thunder lead to three or four, the Jazz trailed by nine at halftime.
For the veteran Jefferson, it was another teaching opportunity, not a reason to panic.
“These are things Gordon is learning fast, Derrick [Favors] and Enes are learning fast,” Jefferson said, “and you’ve seen improvement over the course of the preseason. There’s not a lot of worry or stress. We understand it’s going to be a long season. We understand the position we’re in. So it’s a matter of bringing that type of effort every night, and letting the cards fall where they may.”
Figuring out their fouls
Favors avoided foul trouble Sunday night.
Andris Biedrins did not.
The backup center fouled out in just 13 minutes and 12 seconds of play.
A big reason why: the league has made how screens are set a point of emphasis this season. Referees are on the look for screen-setters who jut out a hip. They’re also supposed to call a foul if a screener sets his feet unusually wide apart to trip a defender.
“We’ve talked about it. Not just Derrick, but big guys,” Corbin said. “Especially early in the first two games, I thought it cost us because guys just weren’t comfortable with what they’re calling.”
Part of the onus also rests with the ballhandler, Corbin said.
“We run a lot of running screens,” he said. “The guy with the ball … has to wait until the big guy gets set. Because if he’s moving and the screener’s moving, they’re going to automatically call that.”
When the Clippers covered up the banners at Staples Center this week, it caused a stir in L.A. But the Lakers’ banners were on full display at their practice facility, where the Jazz will practice and hold shoot around this week.
“Yeah. It is weird,” Hayward said when asked about practicing in someone else’s gym. “They’ve got a lot of stuff up.”