The road-weary Utah Jazz return home Friday night, when they play the Los Angeles Lakers at EnergySolutions Arena.
The Jazz have played 18 road games already this season — more than any team in the NBA. Utah has played seven of eight games on the road since Dec. 11, including a 104-94 loss at Memphis on Monday night.
Coach Tyrone Corbin gave his players two days off for Christmas before they returned to practice Thursday. The Jazz are 8-23 heading into their first meeting of the year against the Lakers.
"We’ve played so many games in such a short amount of time," Corbin said. "… It was a good time to have a little break."
The Jazz have had only one three-day break between games this season. When they returned after their first mini-vacation against Phoenix on Nov. 29, they were flat. The Suns shot 54.7 percent and rolled to an easy 112-101 victory.
It was rookie point guard Trey Burke’s third regular-season game. He had just returned from finger surgery.
"I think we’re better now than we were then," Corbin said. "We have a better idea of who we are and how we have to play to be effective."
Gobert happy to be back
Rookie center Rudy Gobert is happy to be back in Salt Lake City.
Along with teammate Ian Clark, Gobert was sent to the NBA Development League’s Bakersfield Jam while the Jazz were on the their recent pre-Christmas road trip.
Gobert averaged 14 points, 13 rebounds and 4.33 blocked shots in 30.7 minutes during three games with Bakersfield. Clark, who has also returned to Utah, averaged 12.3 points and 4.3 assists.
"It was pretty fun," Gobert said. "It was good for me to get some playing time. … I was with Ian, so it was easier for me. [But] it’s good to be back."
Asked if the short stay in the D-League helped Gobert, Corbin said, "Absolutely. He got a lot of minutes on the floor. He was big inside. He rebounded very well. He was able to get some touches down there on the post and I thought he was strong there. … But the main thing was getting on the floor and playing a lot of minutes. I thought it was great for him."
Hayward mum on engagement
Gordon Hayward became engaged to Robyn Van Vliet of Indianapolis during the Jazz’s break, although he didn’t want to talk too much about it.
Asked before practice if Christmas was "typical" this year, Hayward smiled and said, "It was a little different than normal. I’m pretty excited. But I just want to keep that a little private so …"
Said Corbin: "We’re happy for him. She’s a nice young lady. We wish them well."Next Page >
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