FINAL: Jazz 106, Lakers 111
Anaheim, Calif. • It was a preseason marked by losses.
There was rookie point guard Trey Burke, lost indefinitely due to a broken finger. Then, of course, there were the games: seven of the eight losses, the last coming Friday night at the hands of the Los Angeles Lakers in front of a half-full crowd at the Honda Center.
But just a few days from the start of the season, Jazz coach Ty Corbin remains optimistic.
Wins and losses, he says, won't be the best way to measure success this year.
"Performance," he said. "Performances will be key for us. Consistency and performance. Finding out who we are and how we're going to respond to situations. In this league, man, you have to grow into positions. You can talk about it, talk about it. But until you go through it, experience it and see how guys respond, it's going to be new to them.
"It's going to be different. There are going to be a lot of adjustments."
There are indeed plenty of adjustments to make following Friday night's 111-106 loss to the Lakers.
The Jazz were coming off a 103-99 loss to the Clippers on Wednesday night, a performance Corbin and his players said was their best of the season, and looking for a better showing than the 14-point loss they suffered against the Lakers earlier this week.
"Each and every game we're getting better," point guard John Lucas had said after the narrow defeat.
The Jazz led 53-51 at halftime, thanks to a 16 points from swingman Gordon Hayward. Hayward posted up the bigger Shawne Williams for a bucket. Then Hayward found some space outside. Point guard John Lucas found his teammate trailing on a fast break for a triple from the right angle. The next possession, Hayward hit from the corner.
But Hayward didn't score again until 2:45 left in the third, as the Jazz offense sputtered in the period.
As the Jazz struggled, the Lakers' Steve Blake took advantage.
The Jazz were outscored 37-20 in the third quarter, as the Lakers' guard scored 19 points going 7 for 7 from the floor and 5 for 5 from beyond the arc in the period.
While exhibition wins have been in short supply for an inexperienced Jazz team, coach Ty Corbin says he's been pleased by his players' effort and dedication.
"If we didn't put our best foot forward the night before, they still come back and work the next day," he said. "[We've seen] them come together as a group, grow as individuals and try to get better and be good as fast as we can. â¦ With young guys, it takes a little while."
The Jazz open the regular season Wednesday night in Salt Lake City against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
"There are going to be a lot of lessons we learn, good and bad," Corbin said. "We want to make sure wee cut the curve as much as we can and make sure we don't keep relearning the same lessons."