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News » Jazz falter down stretch at Clippers

Jazz falter down stretch at Clippers

Jazz falter down stretch at Clippers LOS ANGELES ? There was reassurance, with power forward Carlos Boozer scoring a game-high 20 points and point guard Deron Williams adding 19. There was experimentation, with Williams playing for a while at shooting guard next to rookie point Eric Maynor. And there was cause for concern, mostly on the defensive end, and especially when it comes to the struggles of young bigs Kyrylo Fesenko and Kosta Koufos. The Jazz's 103-96 exhibition loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday at Staples Center, in other words, offered a little something for everyone.

For Boozer, who hit an efficient 9-for-15 the field and pulled down eight rebounds in 24 minutes, it was confirmation that contributing on one end of the floor shouldn't be a problem ? but leaving a mark on the other remains the goal for all involved. "I'm not worried about my offense, guys," he said. "Honestly. I'm a good scorer. I'm not worried about scoring. "I'm trying to focus on the defensive end," added Boozer, who exited with a third quarter-ending layup and the Jazz up 76-73. "I've been trying to tell y'all that from the jump." Beyond converting with consistency, Boozer did break up a lob here and deflect a pass there. But after watching him blow a dunk and get beat on an alley-oop by Clippers No. 1 overall draft pick Blake Griffin, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan was left yearning for even more. "I thought he (Boozer) had moments where he played pretty good as far as he got baskets," said Sloan, whose Jazz are now 3-2 with three preseason games still to go. "He missed a couple baskets inside, (but) I thought he was pretty much alive. ? He is trying to play defense and help us. We can't do that with one or two guys, though. "I was disappointed in all our players, the way we tried to defend," the Jazz coach added. "We gave up way too many layups, didn't get hardly any charges in the ballgame." Williams and Maynor were in the backcourt together late in the third quarter and early in the fourth. "It could happen (in the regular season), some situations," said Williams, who exited shortly before the Clippers pulled away over the final eight minutes. "I don't have (any) problem playing (off guard) for little spurts," he added. "But when I've got a ball in my hands, I like to call stuff. It's different (on defense), because I'm used to picking up the ball. But it's an adjustment you can make. It's not a big deal." Sloan seemed to like the look, and may turn to it on occasion and when matchups allow. "That's a possibility for us," he said. "I wouldn't say that's probably going to be a constant thing ... (but) there's some things that can help us there ? as long as we defend." What Sloan didn't particularly enjoy watching was the woes of Fesenko, who banked in a quarter-ending 15-footer but also blew an uncontested dunk, and fellow 7-footer Kofous, who had three shots blocked during a two-minute span in the second quarter. "I thought they were pretty much nonexistent most of the time. ? They've got to learn to compete," the Jazz coach said. "They've got to go after the ball. They can't wait for the ball to come to them. There were too many times the ball was up there, and we waited until the last resort to go after it. "They've got to play with intensity on the floor, instead of being out there and just going through the motions. If the ball's on the floor or on the boards, they have to go get it. They're big enough. ? Both of them are young guys ? and they have to learn to play through those things. "When you look at exhibition season, and you look at summer league, you see how important it is for guys to get a chance to play ? and then get in great shape, so they can have some confidence," Sloan added. "When you're sucking air trying to get up and down the floor, it's tough to stay involved in what's going on." MISC.:The Jazz will play the Charlotte Bobcats today at 5:30 p.m. at Staples Center. The Bobcats lost to the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday. ... Combo guard Ronnie Price dressed but didn't play Saturday because of a strained left hamstring the Jazz said was sustained in Thursday's game against Portland. It's the second preseason game he's missed, the other being against Real Madrid in Madrid because of a bruised right calf. ? The Jazz decided against bringing swingman C.J. Miles (ruptured thumb ligament surgery) on the trip, so he'll begin a running rehab program in Utah on Monday. ? With Price, Miles, Andrei Kirilenko (personal reasons), Kyle Korver (knee) and veteran small forward Matt Harpring (chronic knee/ankle injuries; not at training camp) all absent, Wesley Matthews started at shooting guard and usual starting shooting guard Ronnie Brewer slid to small forward. It was the third start of the preseason for Matthews, a rookie free agent from Marquette. He shot 1-for-4 from the field, while his main competition for a roster spot, journeyman Ronald Dupree, was 4-for-7. e-mail:

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Added: October 19, 2009


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