JAZZ NOTES: Giricek¹s struggles against Roy result in rare DQ
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - There were six seconds left in Wednesday night's loss to Portland, and something strange was happening to Gordan Giricek. A referee walked over to him and told him he had to leave.
"It doesn't happen much, does it?" Giricek said of his first disqualification in more than two years, and just the second of his five-year NBA career.
Giricek picked up five of his six fouls in the fourth quarter, when coach Jerry Sloan assigned him to try to bottle up rookie guard Brandon Roy. Derek Fisher hadn't had much luck, and Andrei Kirilenko couldn't keep up.
Giricek fared no better. Roy was awarded 10 free throws in the quarter, and finished with a career-high 29 points.
The Croatian guard made no excuses a day later, but acknowledged that he is still fending off the lingering effects of his bruised ribs. That pain is nearly gone, he said, but the two-week layoff affected his conditioning.
"My legs are not back all the way. There was a little bit of fatigue, so maybe not as quick," Giricek said. "I tried to play [Roy] tight, stay in front, but he is quick. . . . It'll get better."
He also shrugged at some of the calls, explaining that some of the bumps that Roy initiated are frequently not whistled. "Sometimes they call them, sometimes they don't," he said. "I always try to play tough defense, but unfortunately, they blew whistle."
What really bothers him about his second foul-out, though? "Who is watching our statistics like that?" he said, shaking his head. "Why do people know that? It's amazing."
Sloan got to know Cody Karl, son of Nuggets coach George Karl, during training camp in Boise last fall. So he expressed concern upon hearing that the college student underwent seven hours of surgery to remove cancerous lymph nodes this week.
"He came out and watched us practice every day," Sloan said of the younger Karl, who played for Boise State. "He's a pretty good basketball player. Smart, too. He's got a good chance of being able to make it" in the NBA.
Now Sloan, who lost his first wife, Bobbye, to pancreatic almost cancer three years ago, hopes Karl recovers quickly. "Basketball doesn't mean anything at times like that," the coach said.
The Portland loss was bad enough, but Carlos Boozer said Utah's failure to put more ground between it and Houston on Wednesday made it doubly bad. "When we lose, we give them hope that they can catch us," Boozer said of the Rockets, who trail the Jazz by 1 1/2 games in the race for home-court advantage in the playoffs. "We want home-court badly. We play better at home, so it's important. So to lose like that, it's magnified, I'll say that." . . . Former Jazz forward Roger Powell, an honorable mention All-D-League selection for his league-leading 22.0-point-per-game average with the Arkansas Rim Rockers, will receive the Jason Collier Sportsmanship Award, the league announced Thursday. Powell, cut by the Jazz in January after appearing in three games, "always has a smile on his face," Rim Rockers coach Andy Stoglin said in a statement. "Everyone that meets Roger remembers him, because he is such a nice person. He respects and talks to everyone, it doesn't matter who it is. Whether it's on the court or walking down the street, he will see someone and stop to shake their hand."