Jazz: Okur on sidelines at practice
Los Angeles » As optimistic as he was about getting on the court with his teammates Monday, Mehmet Okur went through only increased activity on the sidelines and did not participate in practice, the Jazz said.
Okur is a game-time decision to play tonight with the strained right hamstring he suffered eight days ago. Before practice, Okur estimated he was "65, 70 percent" and was still concerned about his running and jumping ability.
"This is the kind of injury if you not really feel good, if you go out there and try to run, it could be worse," Okur said. "I look forward to just loosen up a little bit, try to stretch, try to run a little bit and we'll see what happens."
Okur sat out last Tuesday's regular-season finale and Sunday's playoff opener against the Lakers. Without him, the Jazz are missing their second-leading scorer (17.0 points) and top three-point shooter (44.6 percent).
Kyle Korver spilled a secret at practice Monday: He's been on a liquid diet with jaw issues ever since he took a charge from 300-whatever-pound Shaquille O'Neal in the Jazz's March 28 victory over Phoenix.
That's in addition to the wrist and elbow injuries that have Korver wearing various sleeves and pads on both arms. As for his jaw, Korver has tried to eat soft foods like mashed potatoes and fish before games.
"I'm a meat connoisseur, so it hasn't been the easiest thing," Korver said. "But it's been manageable."
To the point
Jazz coach Jerry Sloan wouldn't commit to having Brevin Knight relieve Deron Williams at point guard in tonight's game after Knight struggled in the first half Sunday. The Jazz fell behind by 16 as Knight had a shot blocked and committed two turnovers.
"We'll see what happens, see what I feel like [today]," Sloan said. "I don't know just yet. We'll have to take a look at that. I don't know how we'll solve that."
Williams played 45 minutes in Game 1 and Sloan wasn't opposed to having him do so again. But Sloan did say he would try to rest Williams for a stretch in the first half. Ronnie Price would be the other option in place of Knight.
Sloan finished sixth in voting for the NBA's Coach of the Year, receiving nine of 122 first-place votes. Cleveland's Mike Brown won the award with 55 first-place votes, with Houston's Rick Adelman second and Orlando's Stan Van Gundy third.
With the Jazz trimming the Lakers' halftime lead from 22 to 9, Lakers coach Phil Jackson was asked whether his team was affected by the Jazz's custom of playing offense in front of their bench in the second half of road games.
"We should be used to it as many times as we've played Utah in the last two years," Jackson said, "but there is a support you have in front of your bench and all that kind of stuff and it matters. It does matter."
The visiting team has its choice of ends and the Jazz are different from most teams, which opt to play defense in front of their bench in the second half. Asked if it was a factor in the Jazz's defensive shortcomings, Jackson said: "There's something to be said about that."