Utah Jazz: Carroll embraces challenge of facing Oklahoma City’s Durant
By Steve Luhm
The Salt Lake TribuneFirst published Apr 09 2013 11:25AM
DeMarre Carroll will never be compared to Kevin Durant.
Carroll, a former free agent, has been an effective off-the-bench player for Utah Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin this season.
Durant, on the other hand, is the reigning NBA scoring champion. He averages 28.4 points this year for the Thunder, who once again are among the best teams in the league.
Still, Carroll apparently enjoys the challenge of going head-to-head against Durant, which he will do again Tuesday night at EnergySolutions Arena.
"I just try to be physical," Carroll said. "He’s a great player. You have to try and find some way to get him out of his rhythm. No dirty play. Nothing like that. He’s a good dude."
In three previous Utah-Oklahoma City games this season, the officials have called 10 technical fouls and four flagrant fouls.
Carroll and Durant have each been called for one technical and one flagrant.
"I just think it’s two guys that love to compete," said Jazz center Al Jefferson. "We all know Durant got that fight in him, but I think a lot of people be a little surprised when you see D.C. [He doesn’t] back down from nobody, but we used to it, we see it each and every day.
"I think it’s two guys who like to compete and aren’t going to back down. As long as it’s like that, it’s fun to me. It’s fun to watch that because Durant is considered the best of the best and D.C. is a guy still trying to prove himself and prove that he could be a great player in this league, too. So of course he’s going to take the challenge."
Said Mo Williams: "He does that in practice. He gets on people’s nerves in practice. It’s nothing new to us."
Corbin is pleased that Carroll hasn’t backed down when going against Durant and his high-scoring teammate, Russell Westbrook.
"Kevin Durant is a great player," Corbin said. "But if you play in this league, you want to play against the top guys to see where you are. You know they are great guys. You know they are going to get their numbers. But you have to make them work for everything they get and not lay down.
"I don’t think DeMarre has done anything other than just get into the guy. He’s just competing. Durant and Westbrook are two very good players who will get huge numbers if you allow them to do whatever they want on the floor."
The Jazz seek their eighth win in nine games against Oklahoma City. They are one-half game ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers for eighth place in the Western Conference.
Utah could be without two rotation regulars against the Thunder. Marvin Williams (stomach flu) and Alec Burks (sprained ankle) are doubtful, according to a team spokesman.