Utah Jazz shootaround notes Al Jefferson vs. Lakers' Pau Gasol; Kobe Bryant's a 'killer'
Notes following Jazz shootaround Wednesday at EnergySolutions Arena.
Utah is expected to start Devin Harris, Raja Bell, Gordon Hayward, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson against the Los Angeles Lakers.
All 13 Jazz players are expected to be active.
Los Angeles' Jason Kapono (personal reasons) and Troy Murphy (gastroenteritis) are out and didn't travel with the team to Salt Lake City.
Asked about his respect for Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said "Kobe is Kobe." Corbin added he wouldn't be surprised if Bryant tries to score 50 points against Utah after he dropped in 48 against Phoenix on Tuesday.
"You can ask around the league and a lot of people say he's probably the best player in the league," Corbin said.
He added: "You can't relax on him because he had a game last night. He's a killer, man. He's trying to come at your gut."
Jazz center Al Jefferson acknowledged past struggles against Los Angeles forward Pau Gasol, whose length has long troubled him.
Jefferson on Gasol: He's just a long guy, man. The other night my shot just wasn't going in for me. I got my looks. The shots I take all the time just wasn't going in for me. I done have my battles against Pau; made my shots against him. It doesn't matter. â¦ One thing I do notice against Pau and [Andrew] Bynum, I can't body them up like that. They're long they don't go for the ball fakes because they don't have to. So I need to use my quickness on them. Instead of trying to body them up and overpower them, I just need to use my quickness on them. Same thing for Kwame Brown. He did a good job on me because I was trying to body him up.
Bynum: Man, I'm not surprised. One [thing], the injuries he done had the last three years, he would've had his breakout year. He's a big, talented guy. One thing I have noticed about him the last two years, that he done picked his skill level up with his size. â¦ One thing I've to go do, the farther I can get him away from the basket, the better.
Personal test: This is not no personal goals with me. I'm just doing my job; trying to win games. Because it's not about Al Jefferson making the All-Star game. It's about the Utah Jazz making the playoffs.
Corbin on Jefferson's struggles against Gasol: Pau is a good player in this league and he and Bynum together are two big guys. They read off each other very well and they have Kobe there and it's a good team. It's not an individual against an individual. It's our team against their team and we all have to do a good job of using each other, counting on setting good screens and the help side knowing where it is on the defensive end and playing a team game.
Corbin said he thinks the Jazz are somewhat better prepared to face the Lakers this season, thanks to Utah's frontline of Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter.
"They've been together for a while. They know how to read each other really well," Corbin said. "You go after one and the other go to the front of the rim and they lob it in. It's tough to match their size. But we feel in better shape to do it."
Corbin said the Lakers are a "huge test" for an unproven Jazz team that's won five consecutive games and jumped to third place in the Western Conference.
"This is one of the best teams in the league," Corbin said. "They've proven they can win it all and they can win big. â¦ You've got to measure where you are against teams like this."
Corbin on the Lakers' depth: Man, you have Pau and you have Bynum and you have Fisher. You've got guys that are going to play the bulk of the minutes on the floor who's really experienced, really good competitors they're veteran guys that want to win and want to be the best. Whoever you put around that collection of guys, you're going to have a chance to win and they continue to demonstrate that.
Brian T. Smith