The Jazz's Tyron Corbin says beating Phoenix on Tuesday night and getting his first victory as an NBA head coach would be "a large step."
After the Jazz practiced Monday and before they flew to Arizona, where they were greeted by 80-degree temperatures, Corbin said a victory over Steve Nash and the Suns would "would take a lot of pressure off. I'm excited about having the position. I think the guys are O.K. with me being the head coach, but we have to win games.
"We're in a situation now where we're kind of working our way out of the playoffs and we don't want that to happen. So we need to win games ... to continue to grow and feel good about ourselves. This is a good team. We should be able to win games and we need to win games."
With one game behind him -- a 91-86 loss to the Suns on Friday in Salt Lake -- and three days off before the rematch in Phoenix, Corbin believes his players have had time to deal with Jerry Sloan's resignation as their head coach.
"They are the primary focus right now," Corbin said. "We need to get everybody on the same page so we can move forward."
After beating the Jazz, the Suns came home and had a three-game winning streak snapped by the lowly Sacramento Kings.
Phoenix, which allowed only 27 points in the second half against Utah, watched Sacramento score 113 points, including 35 in the fourth quarter.
Corbin believes the loss to the 13-win Kings will likely re-focus the Suns.
" ... We now what we're facing," he said. "We know they can beat us. But we know we can beat them, too, if we play right."
Corbin has not spoken to Sloan or his long-time assistant Phil Johnson, who also resigned.
"I wanted to call them, but it's still new for them," Corbin said. "They are still going through a transition period, too, and I want to respect their time off and give them some time to deal with their emotions. You know, I have to work this out on my own for awhile. But I do miss them."
Raja Bell hasn't talked to Sloan, either.
"I left him a voice mail," the veteran guard said. "... I figured I wouldn't get him but I just wanted to let him know my thoughts."
Corbin has had several conversations with Utah vice president of basketball operations Kevin O'Connor.
"I talk to Kevin a lot," he said. "We had a great conversation [Sunday] about where we are and trying to get some logistics stuff settled down. So we're moving forward. It's slow but we're moving forward."
Said Bell: "I think we're doing a good job. Ty and his staff have been pretty good about looking forward and put what's happened recently in the rear-view [mirror], so we can salvage what we have left of the season."
The Jazz have 27 games remaining.
When he returned home Friday night, Corbin found out his son, Tyrell, had helped West High School to a victory over Cottonwood.
Tyrell is one of the top basketball players in the state of Utah. As the two talked, Corbin recalled, his son offered some advice.
"... He said, 'Dad, I've got a great play for you,'" Corbin said, laughing.
Jazz point guard Deron Williams enjoyed his weekend out of the spotlight.
"It was good to get a couple of days to rest and practice," he said. "We just have to go back out and wins some games. That's all we can do. ... We just have to get better. Play harder."
Said Bell: "We had a really good practice [Saturday]. It was intense. Guys were going after each other. It reminded me of a preseason practice -- the level of excitement and energy we had and that's a good sign."
-- Steve Luhm
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