Portland, Ore. — Notes following Jazz shootaround Monday at the Rose Garden.
Utah's expected to again start Devin Harris, C.J. Miles, Gordon Hayward, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson against the Blazers.
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said he might make minor tweaks to Utah's rotation, but no major changes are planned.
Corbin on the Blazers: They're playing better, man. [J.J.] Hickson's added something to them and Raymond Felton's playing better and LaMarcus [Aldridge] being back for them and getting another weapon down low. It's a good club and they understand how to win. They've been together for a while and they've got Hickson coming in. It's going to be a tough game. Hickson's revival: Just getting an opportunity. He's a talented fella. Sometimes when you go through adversity you can go either way. And you can pick it up – he's making the most of his opportunity.
Blazers' turnaround, back in playoff picture: And they're using that. They're only two and a half games out. They're using the way they've played the last two games as some kind of momentum to give themselves a chance, and that's the incentive they're using — they have an opportunity to get into the playoffs. We're all fighting for a spot and they're certainly a team that's going to be considered at the end.
Jazz's slow starts: We talked about it. Our approach to it has to change. We're going to score points. … We can't afford — especially on the road — to come out and let the team scored 38 points on us in the first quarter. You're down 38-22. We're going to make a run. But that's such a large gap to cut it from. We want to try to make sure we keep teams in the low 20s or maybe the late teens in the first quarter.
Overall defense: We've got to finish the plays off. That's that third effort we talked about before. We do a good job of closing off the perimeter and the penetration of the paint, then they make that extra effort once they kick it out and it's late in the shot clock, and not give 'em an open 3 instead of a contested 3. If they make the contested one after you make the effort, then that's fine. But we don't want to stop — standing and letting them get a great look on us.
Same starting lineup, Earl Watson backing up Harris: Yeah. We'll look at things as games develop. But to start right now, we'll start the same way. Rotations off the bench may change a little bit for us and not just with Earl — whatever gives us a better chance to match up and have a chance to win the game. We still have 13 games left and we need to get better on the road. We've got six of them on the road and we need to win road games.
Watson's performance vs. Tinsley: He's not the scorer that Tinsley is. He plays and does different things for us. Jamaal scored the ball a little bit more for us. But he's doing what he did what that second group. Anytime you come off injury and you sit a few games, it takes you a little while to get your momentum back. The thing with him was to give him an opportunity to get back to that level. But I feel great about using both guys in the game as we go forward here.
Second unit's scoring struggles: It's beginning to be more evident that we need some more scoring in that group. With Gordon being off the floor with that group and it's just Alec [Burks] and Earl and now we're playing DeMarre [Carroll] some. Teams, what they're starting to do now is zone us more with it. Because of Enes [Kanter] and Derrick [Favors] inside and their size, they can't match up. They go to a zone and we don't make perimeter shots; it's more difficult for us to get something going. So now we have to rotate a little bit more and sub, and that may be where we have to make a change at.
Brian T. Smith
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