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Utah Jazz: Rookie guard Trey Burke steps up in another loss

Consecutive 20-point outings lift Jazz rookie guard out of a slump.

First Published Mar 12 2014 11:15 pm • Last Updated Mar 12 2014 11:15 pm

As the Utah Jazz struggle toward the end of a rebuilding season, rookie point guard Trey Burke has regained his bearings.

Burke scored a team-high 20 points and handed out six assists Wednesday night during Dallas’ 108-101 victory over Utah at EnergySolutions Arena.

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» Jazz rookie Trey Burke scores 20 points in a 108-101 loss to Dallas.

» Burke finishes with at least 20 in consecutive games since Nov. 30-Dec. 2.

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It was the Jazz’s seventh loss in the last eight games.

Individually, however, Burke seems to have bounced back from a dreary six-game stretch.

In those games, Burke averaged 8.7 points on 18-for-50 shooting, including 6-for-29 from the three-point line. He failed to score more than 16 points and finished with seven or less four times.

"There’s still a lot for him to learn," said coach Tyrone Corbin, "but he’s learning on the fly."

Including Monday night’s 112-110 loss to Atlanta, Burke has scored at least 20 points in consecutive games for the first time since Nov. 30-Dec. 2.

"Just trying to stay confident," said Burke, who rattled off a list of recent improvements on his game.

"Better shot selection. Taking shots when they’re there. ... Just playing ball and not worrying about the next play or the last play. I think that’s when I play my best."

Burke missed the first 12 games of the regular season after suffering a fractured finger against Chris Paul and the L.A. Clippers in an exhibition game.

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He hasn’t missed once since Nov. 11, however, and has played with a bounce in his step in the last two games.

"I think he’s doing a great job as we finish up the season," Corbin said. "... Learning pace and how he has to play [and] knowing the condition he needs to be in to play this time of year. So those great lessons to learn and he has responded well."

A year ago, Burke quarterbacked Michigan to the NCAA championship game.

This year, he’s playing on a team that dropped to 22-43 after losing the Dallas. But he insists nobody has given up on Utah’s year of rebuilding.

"We understand we still [17] games left and that’s almost like a college regular season," Burke said.

"So the season’s not over. We have to continue to play. We’re playing for something -- for pride. We have to continue to go out and play like we know how."

The difference in the Jazz-Mavs game was veteran Dirk Nowitzki, who had 31 points on 12-for-14 shooting.

Burke was five years old when the former MVP was drafted into the NBA in 1998.

"They just made shots at the end of the game," Burke said. "We did what we could to contain Dirk ... [but] on a night like this you have to take your hat off to him."

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