The oldest player on the roster saw the heaviest minutes Monday.
Utah Jazz forward Richard Jefferson, 33, logged 40 minutes and 9 seconds on the court in the team’s win over the Charlotte Bobcats — more minutes than the next closest Jazz player, 21-year-old Trey Burke.
Part of the reason for the heavy workload was swingman Gordon Hayward’s early foul trouble, which limited him in the first half. But down the stretch, Jefferson’s minutes seemed to come at the expense of third-year guard Alec Burks, who had played well, scoring 14 points and grabbing six rebounds in the first three quarters.
“Especially in the first half, I thought he carried us,” Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said of Burks. “We really needed a guy to attack the basket for us, make some shots. He really took up the slack.”
But with the game on the line, Burks was stuck on the bench. One of the biggest reasons for that, Corbin said, was Charlotte’s Gerald Henderson.
The Bobcats guard scored 19 points in the first three quarters — mostly against Jefferson. But Corbin believed Henderson’s size had posed troubles for Burks, who was easily posted up twice, leading to a bucket the first time and free throws the second.
“Henderson was posting up and we needed a bigger body on him,” Corbin said.
Henderson was held scoreless on two shots in the fourth quarter.
Slow and steady
The slowest-paced team in the NBA, the Memphis Grizzlies, averages 92.1 possessions per 48 minutes. On Monday night, the Jazz and Bobcats only managed 88.
It was a slow, grinding game. And while that’s not unusual for the Jazz, who play the fourth slowest pace in the league (93.69 possessions), it’s not the most fun, players say.
“I think we’d all rather get out and run,” rookie point guard Burke said. “I think we’re really good when we’re in transition. But we did a good job in a slower game. We executed our offense in the half-court. It’s our job to understand the pace of the game and use it to our advantage.”
“Games when you’re scoring 105-110 points are always more fun,” forward Marvin Williams added. “But sometimes you’ve got to win like this.”
The first Jazz game Andrew Schaverien ever watched as a boy growing up in Australia was Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals.
“I picked them at the beginning of the game,” he said. “I wasn’t so happy at the end of the game, but I stuck with them.”
This month, mostly on a whim, the government employee from Sydney booked a trip to the U.S., and starting in Miami, watched the Jazz play the Heat, the Magic, the Hawks, the Bobcats, the Grizzlies and then two games at EnergySolutions Arena.
Not bad timing for the unlikely fan from Down Under, as he was able to catch 40 percent of the Jazz’s wins on the year in person.
He’ll conclude his trip in Los Angeles, when the Jazz play the Lakers on Friday.
The Jazz were given New Year’s Eve off and will practice on Jan. 1 in preparation for a Thursday night contest against the Milwaukee Bucks.
That fits with Corbin’s only resolution for his team in 2014: “To work.”
Jazz vs. Bucks
P Thursday, 7 p.m.
At EnergySolutions Arena
TV • ROOT Sports