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Jazz notes: Jazz starting to feel sense of urgency for playoff spot

Published February 16, 2011 11:34 pm

Jazz notes • Utah in battle with six teams for final three spots.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Phoenix • New coach Tyrone Corbin knows one of his biggest tasks is getting the Utah Jazz to the playoffs.

It is no longer a forgone conclusion.

"We understand the sense urgency," Corbin said prior to Tuesday night's 102-101 loss to Phoenix at the U.S. Airways Center.

"Everybody is kind of bunching together. We've lost some games and fallen back to the pack a little bit. But we're still the same team that won a lot of games early.

"We just have to get back on the same page and get our head focused on winning games and [go] from there."

On Jan. 14, Utah owned a 27-13 record after a 121-99 victory over Cleveland.

Over the next month, however, the Jazz have lost 12 of 15 games.

As a result, the Jazz find themselves in a battle just to reach the playoffs after looking like a team capable of being a No. 2 or No. 3 seed in the Western Conference.

Utah, New Orleans, Portland, Denver, Phoenix and Memphis appear to be the horses in this six-horse race.

Three are likely to qualify for the playoffs.

Three will not.

The Suns once appeared hopelessly behind in their quest to reach the postseason, but not now.

"… We have a lot of work to do," coach Alvin Gentry said. "As I said you our guys, the only way can make up ground is we have to win games. We have to concentrate on taking care of business."

After a 91-86 win over the Jazz on Friday night at EnergySolutions Arena, the Suns lost to Sacramento, 113-108.

"… Losing at home to a team that has struggled in the road, that doesn't help you at all," Gentry said.

'Almost surreal'

The Jazz played Phoenix in their first two games without long-time coach Jerry Sloan, who resigned Thursday after 23 seasons on the job.

"It's very odd, it really is," Gentry said. "… What are the chances are you will play Utah twice in a week and Jerry Sloan won't be there? It just seems so different from anything you could imagine."

Gentry thought the Sloan situation played into the Jazz's poor performance against his team in Corbin's debut as coach.

He expected a better effort in the rematch.

"Everything was such a … it was almost surreal," Gentry said. "You just never go in that arena and not see [Sloan] in there. So I think they will be much more stable.

"Obviously, Jerry is the biggest icon you can ever have there. He is Jazz basketball. So it was an adjustment for everyone."

luhm@sltrib.com

Warriors at Jazz

P EnergySolutions Arena

Tipoff • 7 p.m.

TV • FSN Utah

Radio • 1320 AM, 1600 AM, 98.7 FM

Records • Jazz 31-24, Warriors 24-29

Season series • Warriors lead, 2-1

Last Meeting • Warriors, 96-81 (Jan. 30)

About the Jazz • They are only 17-12 at home after losing four straight to Phoenix, Chicago, Oklahoma City and Houston. … Their last home win came on Jan. 31 against Charlotte (83-78). … They are 8-5 on the second night of back-to-back games.

About the Warriors • They shoot 39.4 percent on three-pointers, but they allow 105.9 points per game. … They are led by G Monta Ellis (25.2 ppg) and G Stephen Curry (18.8 ppg). … Curry's father, Dell, was the Jazz's first-round draft pick in 1986.