Portland, Ore. • Utah Jazz coach Ty Corbin has talked often this year about developing an identity as a team, "finding out who we are." Now, as the season’s final stretch begins, Corbin and the Jazz at least know who they have.
The Jazz made no deadline trades Thursday, so on Friday morning at the Moda Center, all 14 healthy players (Derrick Favors stayed in Salt Lake because of a hip sprain) were on the court for shootaround.
"It’s just one less thing you can stress about," Corbin said of the deadline. "They can just go out and play. We are who we are."
"I think across the NBA there’s a sense of ‘OK. This is who we are and now let’s finish this off the right way," said veteran forward Richard Jefferson.
The Jazz, 19-34, can start tonight against the Trail Blazers.
Both teams will be without key forwards: Favors for Utah, and LaMarcus Aldridge (groin) for Portland.
But even without Aldridge, the Blazers have weapons. Damian Lillard is averaging nearly 21 points a night in his second season. Ex Jazz-guard Wesley Matthews is putting up 16.
Without Favors, the Jazz will be stretched defensively. Utah is 0-7 when he does not play this season. And earlier this week, against Brooklyn, the Jazz’s porous defense allowed Nets big man Andray Blatche to tie his season high with 25 points.
The game tips off at 8 p.m. MT on ROOT Sports.
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