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Monson: Jazz really believe they now can beat anybody

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On the other hand, the 23-year-old Durant turned pro four years ago. Westbrook, who also is 23, has been in the league for three seasons. Harden and Serge Ibaka are both 22.

They are just a tick or two ahead of Favors and Hayward, who are in their second seasons, and rooks Burks and Kanter.

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But anyone who witnessed the Jazz’s win over the Lakers at Staples Center on Sunday, and the confidence with which that coming generation played, should have few doubts about the mental composition of those burgeoning players. Corbin, for his part, let the youngsters play more in that game because he was forced to. Al Jefferson and Raja Bell were not available to him.

But there is more pleasant news for the Jazz. They appear to be effectively meshing their vets with their relative newbies, finding some space for each group.

"At times, we can have a veteran lineup, at others a really young lineup," said Corbin. "And, then, we can mix everybody in. They’re all responding."

Against the Thunder, six Jazz players scored in double figures, and nearly everyone, particularly Hayward, played strong defense against Durant and his normally high-flying offensive teammates.

It was impressive.

"Right now, we believe in each other," Favors said. "We support each other."

This whole Jazz endeavor is not about punting on the season in the name of development, looking past end results and forgetting about any shot at the playoffs. It’s about development and results. It’s about mixing and matching and winning. The truth is, the Jazz are at their competitive strongest now when everybody’s in the pool.

"When we play together ... when we play the right way," Tinsley said, "we can beat anybody."

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GORDON MONSON hosts "The Gordon Monson Show" weekdays from 2-6 p.m. on 97.5 FM/1280 AM The Zone. Twitter: @GordonMonson.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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