Houston — The Jazz are just 3-10 on the road after falling 101-85 to the Rockets on Sunday. Utah's final two games heading into the All-Star break — Monday against San Antonio, Wednesday at Minnesota — are important, but the Jazz's next 10 are even more crucial. Seven will be away from Salt Lake City, including a five-game road trip that features contests at Dallas, Philadelphia and Chicago. What should be a gimme at woeful Charlotte (4-27) is also included, but it's offset by a March 2 home game against Miami (25-7). With seven of the Jazz's next 10 opponents playing at least .500 ball and some among the best teams in the NBA, a 15-15 Utah squad's staring at a major challenge.
C.J. Miles on the Jazz's inability to finish close games on the road: Sometimes we just get away from what we do sometimes. And then sometimes, when they take whatever is going well away, we don't do a good job of adapting to it sometimes. And I think it ends up being a turnover and it ends up being a scrap play then we throw up a shot. The biggest thing is, sometimes we call a play and you want to run it, but we have to make basketball plays sometimes. And I think we have to do a better job of doing that, of just playing sometimes. Because they're not going to let us just throw the ball to Paul [Millsap] and score four times in a row. When they kick it out, we've got to be able to make it a play, instead of holding it and throwing it back or standing and looking at each other.
Tyrone Corbin on a lack of consistentcy at the wing position and a rotating cast of players: It really is [a feel thing]. And we've got to find out where we're going to get the production; who's going that night. Tonight, nobody really made any shots with any consistency, so we tried to get something in. Alec [Burks] didn't make any. C.J. missed a few. Josh [Howard] made the one layup down there … Gordon [Hayward] didn't make any perimeter shots. It's difficult when you don't make shots outside. Raja [Bell] did a good job, he made some. But we've got to get some perimeter jumpshots out there.
Houston showing how timely 3-point shooting can change a game: It can be a weapon for them. You look at Lowry tonight. They get down to the end of the shot clock and they make three or four 3-pointers in that first half. Then they make the two big ones at the end of the ballgame here. That kind of opens the game up for you, especially when we're not scoring on the other end. We'll be able to score inside, but we've also got to be able to hit perimeter shots, also.
Lowry going off from outside: You look at the ones in the first quarter. We played good defense for about 22 seconds and then they kick the ball to him at the end of the shot clock and he made the first three or four of them that way. I was satisfied with the defense. It was just the finish part. He was open on the rotations and he got some shots and got his rhythm going.
Mental aspect of winning close games on the road: It's a lot mental. Everything's against you. You don't have the crowd to lift you up. You have your teammates out there, but you have a tendency to drop your head a little bit and you've got to fight your way through it. It seems like a high hurdle to crawl but, you know what?, you've got to fight and figure it out, and you're not going to do it if you quit. So you've got to keep working at it and get tougher in the situation. You've got to learn from game to game and from half to half, because it's coming quick.
The Jazz outscored the Rockets 28-16 in the paint during the first half. Houston then outscored Utah 20-8 after the break.
The Jazz didn't attempt a free throw until the 8:30 mark in the third quarter.
Millsap rolled off eight consecutive points for the Jazz during the period, while Utah used an 11-0 run to pull within 80-78.
Hayward started with four quick assists but only played 21:18 and scored just four points on 1-of-4 shooting.
Millsap and Al Jefferson combined for 52.9 percent (45 of 85) of Utah's points. Bell scored 11, but nine came on 3s. No other Jazz player hit double-figures.
Utah's point-guard production continues to be a concern. Devin Harris and Earl Watson combined for nine points, while Watson was 0 of 7 from the field and Harris only took six shots.
Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors again teamed up to make a mark off the bench, though both weren't as effective during the fourth quarter.
Off night for Alec Burks: zero points, 0 of 3 in 10:12.
Houston rookie forward Chandler Parsons (seven points, four rebounds, two assists) showed promise, while second-year forward/center Patrick Patterson (eight points, seven boards) continues to impress.
Courtney Lee was scoreless and invisible during the first half. Then he burned Utah for eight points and sank two key made 3s after the break.
Brian T. Smith
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