Utah Jazz get pushed around by Brooklyn Nets
By Aaron Falk
The Salt Lake TribuneFirst published Nov 05 2013 10:11PM
Brooklyn, N.Y. • The All-Stars’ faces are waiting with cold stares for everybody who gets off the subway at Barclays Center.
Paul Pierce. Joe Johnson. Kevin Garnett. Brook Lopez. Deron Williams.
Against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday, the new-look Brooklyn Nets were even more intimidating in person.
Lopez scored 27 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead Brooklyn to a 104-88 victory, pushing the Jazz to 0-4 on the season.
"Losing hurts," Jazz coach Ty Corbin said after the game. "It should hurt. It’s four losses in the first four games. But you know what? Nobody’s going to feel sorry for us. We’ve got to come and fight and keep working and try to get better and win a game. … It’s not going to just happen. We’ve got to make it happen."
Lopez provided plenty of pain as he had his way with the Utah frontcourt, scoring a game-high in points on 10-of-13 shooting.
Early in the first quarter, Lopez backed Enes Kanter down toward the basket and tossed in a hook shot. When Kanter applied more muscle, Lopez spun around him and threw down a dunk. He split double-teams and even worked his way around the 7-foot-9 wingspan of rookie Rudy Gobert.
"I thought he got deep on us," Corbin said. "We didn’t move him off the spot."
Afterward, Kanter took the blame for that, saying he wished he would have been more physical with Lopez on the block.
"I think I did a really bad job guarding him," Kanter said. "I’ll be honest with you. I think I let my teammates down. I let my coach down."
Kanter and swingman Gordon Hayward shouldered the offensive load for the Jazz, combining for nearly half of the team’s 88 points. Hayward scored 22 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists. Kanter finished with 21 on 9-of-12 shooting.
Guard Alec Burks was the only other player to reach double digits for the Jazz, as all players aside from Kanter and Hayward went 14 for 54 on the night
"We just had a rough night. Couldn’t get in a rhythm," said Derrick Favors, who finished with six points and five rebounds.
For Kanter, the offensive production meant little in defeat.
"Somebody’s going to score," he said. "I don’t really care about scoring. I don’t care if I score 100 points. We lost. That’s all I care about. We lost."
Williams, the former Jazz point guard, scored 10 points and added eight assists in his first win over the Jazz since being traded for Favors. Williams had lost his previous four games against Utah.
Asked if it meant anything personally, Williams said yes.
"It definitely does," he said. "It’s good to finally beat them. It’s a rebuilding year for them, but I’m definitely happy to beat them."
From the beginning, the Nets’ defense smothered the Jazz, who struggled to move the ball at times and never matched muscle with Brooklyn, settling for too many jump shots — including a 4-of-18 effort from 3.
"We fell in love with it, the first half especially," Corbin said. "They were getting shots to the basket and we were getting perimeter shots. We’ve got to do a better job of attacking."
Now Utah must turn its attention to Boston, and a winless Celtics team that may provide the Jazz’s best chance for a victory on this four-game road trip.
But even that could be difficult.
"We look at all of them as an opportunity," Corbin said, "but it’s not going to be easy. We’re on the road. They need a win, we need a win. And they’re not going to lay down and let us have it. We’ve got to go in there and fight."