Jazz notes: Marvin Williams trying to get comfortable
By Aaron Falk
The Salt Lake TribuneFirst published Nov 17 2013 12:21PM
Oakland, Calif. •Marvin Williams’ busted nose has forced him to make a few in-game adjustments.
Twice in two games, the Utah Jazz forward has started to play with a protective mask only to leave it on the bench as the game wore on.
"It wasn’t working for me," he said Saturday night. "I couldn’t see very well. I missed my first few shots. When I got rid of it, I felt like I was shooting the ball better."
But coming off a summer Achilles surgery that kept him out of the preseason and the first five games of the year, the mask isn’t the only thing Williams is trying to get comfortable with.
"I was just telling one of the players this is my training camp," he said after Saturday night’s loss in Oakland, his fifth game of the season. "I’m still trying to get into a good rhythm, get my legs under me. But I think every day I’m getting stronger. My Achilles is getting stronger. It’s giving me more confidence for sure."
Williams started 2013 by hitting his first shot and then missing his next seven. Since then, however, Williams is 13 of 25 and has reached double digits twice in the last three games.
"Everybody that you play against has and a month and a half already to get back into the swing of things," he said. "The biggest thing for me is to do that on the fly."
John Lucas III isn’t about to let getting benched last week in favor of the freshly signed Diante Garrett bother him.
"One thing about me: I’m a team player. That game I was pressing," said Lucas, who was 0 for 7 on the night. "I wasn’t playing good, so why would I stay on the court?"
Lucas seems to have reclaimed some his minutes the last two games. Against San Antonio, Lucas played nine minutes but hit a couple of close-range buckets to help break out of his slump.
Lucas got big minutes again on Saturday in a loss to the Warriors. The point guard drew two charges in the third quarter and hit all three of his shots to finish with seven points, four assists and no turnovers.
"Luke did a good job organizing tonight," coach Ty Corbin said. "In the third quarter, I thought he pushed the pace for us. I thought we got some good execution out of our offense."
Garrett, meanwhile, has returned to earth after his seven-point, five-assist debut with Utah helped the Jazz to their first win of the year. The point guard never even drew iron on his first three attempts against the Warriors. He finished 1 of 6 with no assists and one turnover.
"This is a tough league," Corbin said. "You enjoy the times when you’re up but you’ve got to stay level."