New York • Derrick Favors’ eye was bloodshot from being poked while fighting for a rebound, and he kept his voice low as he talked.
"I can’t speak for everybody else, but for me, just really pissed off right now," the Utah Jazz co-captain said in the locker room Friday following another loss, the Jazz’s fifth in a row. "Just about performance and losing the way we’ve been losing, just really pissed off about it."
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The 6-foot-10 forward is usually soft-spoken, preferring to lead by example. But after the Jazz were handed a 108-81 blowout loss by the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, Favors said it may be time for an outburst, a thrown chair, something to help reignite a fire inside the struggling Jazz
"It’s getting to the point where I might have to. Got to show some emotion sometime," he said.
The Jazz face myriad problems, though they seem to be distilled of late into a lack of focus and energy. Their five losses, all coming on the same East Coast swing, have come by an average of 17.8 points.
On Friday night, things got out of hand early.
Utah’s defense offered little resistance as Carmelo Anthony scored 18 of his game-high 29 points in the first quarter. When the period ended, the Knicks had put up 39 points and held a 17-point lead.
"We talked about coming out and being aggressive," Jazz coach Ty Corbin said. "Carmelo is a great player, but when you give up 39 points in the first quarter on the road, it’s hard to over come."
Corbin said he saw signs of life in his team after that, but the Jazz never got close. Early in the third quarter, a pair of Gordon Hayward free throws brought the Jazz within 14, but the Knicks stopped them there.
Hayward was one of the few bright spots. After struggling to find his shooting touch most of the year, the swingman went 6-of-8 from the floor for 18 points. He’s shooting 49 percent from the field over the Jazz’s last five games.
Alec Burks, the team’s leading scorer over the past 10 games, continues to contribute off the bench, going 6-of-8 from the floor for 18 points of his own.
Richard Jefferson scored 12 points, but starters Favors, Marvin Williams and Trey Burke combined to go 6 for 25 on the night.
"I don’t know, man," said Burke, who went 2 for 12. "I feel like I got five or six wide-open shots that looked like they was halfway down and just didn’t go in. I can’t get discouraged about it, can’t lose confidence out there. Just got to continue to take those good shots and continue to make plays for the other guys."
With 20 games left in the 82-game season, bodies are tired.
"You’ve got a lot of guys playing minutes that they’ve never played before," Jefferson, the 12-year veteran. "You can see fatigue, frustrations, a lot of things come into play, but you’ve just got to stick with it."
Said Corbin, "They’ve got to figure out this time of year, what it takes, even when you’re not feeling your best, how you have to lay everything you’ve got out there. They’re beat up mentally and physically but we’ve got to find a way to get through it, because these games are going to keep coming."
Favors, who had 8 points and 7 rebounds, doesn’t want the excuse - just wins for a Jazz team that now sits at 21-41 on the year.
"You can’t really make an excuse about everything," he said. "Sometimes you just have to go out there and play. … I’ve got to be more focused and find ways to get going early."
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