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News » Jazz put their pride on the line in Spain

Jazz put their pride on the line in Spain

Jazz put their pride on the line in Spain MADRID ? It's a preseason game for both teams. Starters may not be the same as they will be in the regular season, the rotation certainly will not, and even if the game's on the line late, there may be an NBA All-Star and/or Olympian ? or two or three or four ?

watching from the bench. But don't for a moment believe tonight's NBA EuropeLive tour exhibition between the Jazz and Spanish League/Euroleague power Real Madrid at Palacio de Deportes here doesn't mean just a little something to both clubs. "You don't want to get embarrassed. You want to come out and play good," Jazz point guard Deron Williams said. "But ? you know they're gonna be ready to play. "It's definitely a pride thing," added Williams, a United States gold medal-winning Olympian in 2008. "When you have NBA teams coming in here, you (as the host club) definitely want to prove you can play in front of your home crowd." Still, Williams has a handle on just how the early October game truly fits into the big picture. "I think it's going to be a tough game. I think they're going to be ready to play," he said. "We're going to be ready to play ? but we're going to play a lot of different lineups, a lot of different guys, so it's tough to say how the game's going to go." Travis Hansen ? a Mountain View High, Utah Valley State and BYU product now playing for Real Madrid after stints with the NBA's Atlanta Hawks and in Russia ? expressed similar sentiments prior to a practice Wednesday. "I'm sure for the Jazz , and for us ? (it's) another preseason game to try to grow as a group and as a team just before our real season starts," he said. But, Hansen readily conceded, it nevertheless is "a little bit of a pride game in that the NBA doesn't want to lose and the Euroleague would like to win, probably." And, he added in the land of siestas and all things Pau Gasol, it's mostly about further exposing Spanish fans to NBA Basketball. Real Madrid already has proven it can beat an NBA team ? the Toronto Raptors can attest ? and will present a look today that the Jazz don't often see in the NBA. Coached now by ex-CSKA coach Ettore Messina of Italy ? and replete with a roster featuring a few names familiar to at least some fans of American college and NBA Basketball, including not just Hansen but also Michigan product Louis Bullock, NBA vet Jorge Garbajosa of Spain and skinny 7-foot-1 Cheikh Samb of Senegal ? they play classic European Basketball. "They'll spread the floor more, they'll share the ball, they'll play inside-out," Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor said. "They'll throw it inside and then throw it outside and shoot the 3. "They'll skip-pass more, and the thing people don't recognize is they're allowed to play a true zone in Euro Basketball so they can have guys that aren't really as mobile still be a force defensively." O'Connor did not disagree with the notion that the Jazz have little to gain against Real Madrid, if for no other reason than they're expected to win ? and anything less would be both a coup for Europe and, even in the preseason, a small stain on the NBA. If nothing else, he suggested, that at least means the North American league still is respected as the world's best. "I would rather have it be a no-win situation, where they think we're a good Basketball team," the Jazz GM said. e-mail:

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: October 9, 2009


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