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Utah Jazz ready to take some lumps — and dole some out, too
NBA » Players know they’re being overlooked, and want to prove naysayers wrong


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"People can say whatever they want," he said. "People can rank [us 30th] in the league, we don’t really care. All they can do is talk. What we’re going to do is go out there and show them they’re wrong if they’re talking about bad [things]."

For now, the odds appear stacked against Utah. One ESPN projection system gives the Jazz just a 1.7 percent shot at making the playoffs this year.

At a glance

Thunder at Jazz

O At EnergySolutions Arena

Tipoff »  Wednesday, 7 p.m. TV »  ROOT Sports

About the Jazz »  After opening the preseason with a blowout win, the Jazz went on to lose seven straight exhibition games. … Swingman Gordon Hayward led the team in scoring during the postseason, averaging 15.9 points a night. … Injuries to key rotation players have hampered production from the team’s second unit. The Jazz will start the season with just 10 healthy players. … Veteran point guard Jamaal Tinsley, a late addition to the team, is expected to be ready to play against the Thunder.

About the Thunder »  One of the teams expected to compete for the Western Conference title, led by forward Kevin Durant. … OKC is missing All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook, who is still rehabbing from an knee injury, but backup Reggie Jackson torched the Jazz for 18 points in preseason play.

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But for many, there are positives no matter which way the Jazz go this year.

If the team does exceed expectations, it will mean the team’s young core is capable of success. And if the team struggles, it will mean Lindsey can add another high draft pick to a roster with the financial flexibility to make a splash in next summer’s free agent market.

"We knew that when we jumped into the deep end of the swimming pool there were going to be a lot of tough nights," Lindsey said. "We’re going to take our medicine like men."

He added, "I think we’ll be standing on sturdy ground when we come out of this."

afalk@sltrib.comTwitter: @tribjazz




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