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Jazz notes: Rough flight rattles the Thunder

Published November 17, 2010 10:32 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Oklahoma City's charter flight into Salt Lake City late Sunday night was bumpy enough to get the players' attention.

"Scariest flight I've ever been on," Thunder guard James Harden tweeted.

In another tweet, center Serge Ibaka said, "Thank God for a safe flight."

Before Oklahoma City's game against the Jazz on Monday night, former Jazz point guard Eric Maynor confirmed Mother Nature had dribbled the Thunder into Utah.

"It got bumpy toward the end," Maynor said. "A little shaky."

The Thunder arrived hours after a 117-104 home loss to San Antonio. The Spurs outscored Oklahoma City in the second half, 56-38.

Asked about the rough flight, Thunder coach Scott Brooks said, "Nah, it wasn't too bad. I mean, it was a little bouncy. But it was a lot better than the game we played."

Thunder coach Brooks lauds Jazz coach Sloan

Brooks spoke highly of the Jazz and coach Jerry Sloan, who was preparing for his rookie season with the Baltimore Bullets when the Thunder coach was born in 1965.

"Any time you play Utah, you know you're in for a fight," he said. "They play extremely hard. They are a physical team. They're a mentally tough team. Coach Sloan empowers that team every night, every year. I have a lot of respect for him and what they do."

Brooks called the Jazz's sweep of last week's trip to Miami, Orlando, Atlanta and Charlotte "truly amazing."

In a five-night span, the Jazz rallied to win despite double-diget second-half deficits in all four games.

"There are a lot of times, when you get up on a team at a certain point in the game, they [start] sending it in and looking for the next game and saving energy for the next night," Brooks said.

Williams says the Jazz are coming together

Deron Williams said the successful trip helped the new-look Jazz in ways beyond the standings.

"It was good for us, especially to get the wins — the way we did," he said. "We stuck together. We fought together. This team is coming together, chemistry-wise. On and off the court."

Jazz to be seeing lots of EnergySolutions Arena

Starting with Oklahoma City, the Northwest Division-leading Jazz play 12 of 14 games at home.

"We have to help ourselves," Sloan said. "You can't rely on that. … Teams you play against don't care what your record is. They're going to try to come and beat you and, the more you win, the more they're going to try and beat you.

"That's one of the problems you have sometimes. You think, 'We won a couple of games, teams are going to fold up.' But they aren't going to do that. And that's where you find out if you want to play or you want to entertain."

Williams named bestin the West this week

Williams is the Western Conference Player of the Week, the NBA announced.

Williams averaged 23 points and 11.8 assists while earning the third player of the week award of his career.

luhm@sltrib.com