Utah Jazz, struggling to finish line, take a day off
Jazz notes • Weary team schedules a break ahead of Pelicans game.
Published: April 2, 2014 08:54AM
Updated: April 1, 2014 11:27PM
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Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune Utah Jazz guard Gordon Hayward (20), as the Utah Jazz face the Memphis Grizzlies, NBA basketball at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Wednesday, March 26, 2014.

On the 42nd day after the All-Star break, the struggling Jazz rested.

With three days off between Monday’s 92-83 loss to New York and Friday’s home game against New Orleans, Utah did not practice Tuesday morning.

The Jazz looked physically and emotionally drained while crumbling against the Knicks, who erased an early 10-point deficit and rolled past Utah in the second half.

The Jazz scored 27 points on 4-of-4 shooting from 3-point range in the first quarter. But they managed only 56 points over the final three quarters, partly because they went 4 for 20 from the 3-point line.

Utah has lost 16 of its last 18 games.

During the unhappy stretch, they have lost six games by at least 20 points. They have lost by less than five only three times. Their average margin of defeat since Feb. 28 is 15.5 points.

“We just have to stay positive,” said Marvin Williams. “It’s an old saying but it holds a lot of weight: ‘Attitude is everything.’ If you continue to have a positive attitude, positive things will happen for you. We just have to continue to work.”

Extra attention

Rookie point guard Trey Burke finished with five points, four rebounds and three assists in 31 minutes against the Knicks.

Despite a less-than-dominating performance, Burke caught the attention of New York All-Star Carmelo Anthony, who had several conversations with him during the game.

Said Burke: “He talked a little bit. He’s a veteran player, [but] I don’t back down from anybody and he gave me a little smile at the end. So I’m pretty sure it was just a little trash-talk — the kind he does with everybody.”

During the Jazz’s ongoing five-game losing streak, Burke has averaged nine points. But he’s made only 17 of 52 field-goal attempts. He’s 2 for 18 on 3-pointers.

“… You can’t allow yourself to get discouraged,” he said.

Lit up again

Anthony finished with 34 points, meaning the Jazz were torched by the NBA’s top two scorers twice in a 24-hour period.

On Sunday night, Kevin Durant scored 31 in Oklahoma City’s 116-96 victory over Utah.

Anthony followed up by making 11 of 19 shots, including shooting 4 for 7 from the 3-point line. He had 32 points through three quarters.

“The man is easily one of the top three scorers in the world,” said Williams.

luhm@sltrib.com

Twitter: @sluhm

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