Postgame notes: Jefferson shines, Hayward sulks, Fesenko's shoes
Postgame notes following the Utah Jazz's 108-97 preseason victory over the Phoenix Suns on Thursday at Energy Solutions Arena.Despite Utah being 4-0, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said his team is not playing solid defense. Not tough enough, too many "ticky-tack" and soft fouls, and not enough inside presence. Sloan added that the team is not controlling the boards like it needs to, nor defending well in transition. Sloan said that Al Jefferson's body looks like it's in better shape than when camp started.Sloan on Jefferson: "He scored us a lot of points. We're happy for him. I thought he was more alive."Jefferson praised his teammates, saying that they simply got him the ball in the right spot. "Once, the ball just landed right in my hand," Jefferson said.Sloan on Gordon Hayward: "We're not giving up on him just because he doesn't score 40 points a night."Raja Bell is relatively impressed with where Jazz are at. Said the team can improve its execution, but the defense is coming along.Bell said that he is turning into a different player. More like he was with Utah the first time around. He doesn't have to shoot and can just "play." For the last five years, Bell felt like he was required to drop 3-pointers on demand.Sloan said Hayward will work through things. The coach pointed out, though, that the rookie is showing too much negative body language. Hayward acknowledged pouting, but said it's an easy fix.Hayward: "The past couple games, I think the shots haven't been falling. I think I've been getting down on myself. I need to not worry about that and just move on. It's something I'll deal with and be ready to go in the next game."Hayward was the last to leave the shower. Seemed a bit down, but resilient.Kyrylo Fesenko picked up a box score before leaving the locker room. Read it: "Five, six, two, three, four." Then: "Damn, I missed two free throws again."Fesenko and Kirilenko appeared to talk about the center's sprained right wrist in Russian. Fesenko mentioned that it was not cool that he sprained his wrist, since he just bought new PS3 video games.Fesenko, whose wrist was iced and wrapped, acknowledged that putting on a pair of jeans with one hand was not easy. Then he slipped on bright, white loafers. Bell noticed them and called the shoes "elfish."Asked about the injury, Fesenko joked: "Blame Ryan Thompson."Fesenko said he tripped over Thompson while running down the court. Postgame, Fesenko asked the Jazz to put together an investigative TV show based around why Thompson would trip him. Thompson never really gave in to Fesenko's humor.Fesenko: "X-ray didn't show any broken bones. ... When 280 [pounds] is falling on your wrist, it's not good."Sloan said he has yet to settle on a final rotation, nor who will start at shooting guard and small forward.Very strong game from Jeremy Evans, who scored 12 points on 5-of-5 shooting, grabbed five rebounds, collected three steals and had a couple impressive dunks.Evans: "It's always natural to play your game. And in the fourth quarter, I just wanted to come out and keep the lead. Just play defense and bring some energy."Mehmet Okur's surprising return to the practice court was tempered by Fesenko's injury, which leaves Utah short at the 5 since Francisco Elson is still out with a strained hamstring.Utah has received technical fouls in three consecutive games two by Fesenko, one by Sloan.Jazz had 26 second-chance points, shot 48.3 percent (42 of 87) from the field and scored 15 fast-break points. Utah received a standing ovation from the crowd at the end of the game. Brian T. Smithbsmith@sltrib.comTwitter: tribjazz
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