Happy St. Patrick's Day observed. Some quick hits from this morning's shoot around.
The Utah Jazz will play Memphis tonight at EnergySolutions Arena. The game is scheduled for 8 p.m., rather than the usual 7 p.m. tip. Out-of-area fans can catch it on NBA TV.
Defense remains the central issue facing the Jazz, which we discussed in today's Tribune. The Jazz have lost eight of their last 10 games. And there two wins came against Charlotte and Detroit, teams one media member described as "sub-par." Mo Williams bristled at the comment, responding, "We lost against sub-par teams so. ... So you should say the losses we shouldn't matter either right? If they're a sub-par team."
Jazz players wore green shoes to this morning's shoot around and the team will be in its alternate green road uniforms against the Grizzlies. Al Jefferson: "I look in the locker room, I see green uniforms, green shoes so I put them on."
Not everyone wore green shoes. Marvin Williams has not changed his shoes in months, he said. "I'll probably finish the season out in them," Williams said. "I don't like putting on new shoes because it makes my feet hurt."
Mo Williams, meanwhile, said he changes shoes every few games.
There was a lot of shoot around talk about footwear. More like shoe-taround.
How do you know the seasons are changing? Gordon Hayward showed up with a bit of a sun burn this morning. "I haven't seen the sun in forever," he said. "That's what happens when you're fair skinned."
The Grizzlies come into ESA having won 14 of their last 16 games. Still not hot enough to beat Denver, though. The Grizzlies are playing the second end of a back-to-back after falling to the Nuggets 87-80 last night.
Statistically, Memphis is the league's best defensive team, allowing teams to score only 89.4 points per game. The Jazz average 98.2 points.
Marc Gasol is second among NBA centers in assists, with 3.9 per game. Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls averages 4.1.
Al Jefferson: "They're probably the most unselfish team in the league."
Despite Kobe Bryant playing only one half and going scoreless, the Lakers defeated Indiana 99-93 on Friday night.
Entering Saturday, the Jazz (33-32) were one game behind the Lakers (35-32) for eighth in the Western Conference playoff chase. The Jazz are 2 1/2 games behind Houston (36-30) and 3 games behind Golden State (37-30).
"I don't think the team's frustrated," Al Jefferson said. "We know we control our own destiny, we know what we got to do. We had a great practice yesterday, we know what we got to do, now we got to do it. We can't blame everybody, we can't blame the coaches and point fingers at each other. We're the ones that's out there on the court and playing the game."
The Jazz have 17 games remaining. Of the teams left on the schedule, the Jazz have lost at least once to all but Dallas, Brooklyn, New Orleans and Minnesota.