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News » Utah Jazz anxious for meaningful games

Utah Jazz anxious for meaningful games

Utah Jazz anxious for meaningful games Next Wednesday can't come soon enough for Deron Williams. "I'm ready," Williams said, "for this preseason to be over." Though the Jazz don't tip off for real for another six days ? in an 8:30 p.m. TNT-televised showdown at Northwest Division-rival Denver ?

the point guard did concede he believes lessons are being learned this month. Games like Tuesday's 108-97 victory at Portland are especially beneficial. For one, it came on the road at the rowdy Rose Garden. It was also the fourth time this preseason Utah's held an opponent under 100 points. If learning how to win away from home while playing good defense is what the Jazz take from this exhibition season, consider it a success. "We had a great game defensively," Williams said. "Thought it was our best game of the preseason." Williams isn't about to flip over a preseason win he admitted "doesn't mean anything," but he is optimistic Utah's headed in the right direction. "It was a good sign," he said, "that we can go on the road and play the type of defense we did and get stops against a good team." After giving up 100.9 points per outing in the 2008-09 regular season, Utah has held opponents to 96.4 points in seven exhibition games. The key to continued defensive success, Williams added, is keeping up the effort. He said it still comes and goes in spurts. "We've got to be consistent," he said. "It's easy to talk about it, but we've got to go out there and do it, execute it and stick with our principles. "It's got to be us out there wanting to play defense," Williams added. "You have to want to play defense. You have to want to get stops. That's the main thing." SOBE IT: Shooting guard KyleKorver ? a candidate to start ? has missed all but one of the Jazz's preseason games and didn't practice again Wednesday. So be it, Sloan suggested. "Well, I can't do anything about it," the Jazz coach said. "We just have to play the other guys, and hope they can step up and play better. "Same thing with C.J. (Miles, out after surgery to repair a ruptured thumb ligament). Guys get hurt." Korver has been bothered all month by bad cartilage under his left knee. Also still less than 100 percent is combo guard RonniePrice, who's missed three straight games with a hamstring strain and didn't take part in all of practice Wednesday. KORVER HONOR: The Jazz have another Hall-of-Famer ? and it's not KarlMalone or GregOstertag. The MissouriValley Conference announced Wednesday that Korver, a former Creighton sharpshooter, will be inducted into the MVCHall of Fame next March 5 in St. Louis along with coaching greats RichHerrin of SouthernIllinois and CherylBurnett of Missouri State. Korver's shooting remains legendary in a conference known as "TheValley," and MVC commissioner DougElgin calls him "the greatest 3-point shooter in Valley history." Korver ended his Creighton career as the school's all-time leader in trey tries, makes and accuracy. He is also the school's top free-throw shooter (89.1 percent) and fifth-highest career scorer (1,801 points). Creighton won 99 games and made four NCAATournament appearances during his career. ALUMNI UPDATE: Ex- Jazz forward KrisHumphries, one of Utah's 2004 first-round draft choices, has been drawing decent praise in Dallas. "He's been very consistent," coach RickCarlisle recently told the DallasMorningNews. "He's got an all-around game and he's physical." Traded from Toronto to Dallas in July as part of a four-team deal that also sent ShawnMarion to the Mavericks, Humphries has averaged 20.7 minutes, 14.5 points and 7.7 rebounds in six preseason games ? including 20 points and nine boards over 29 minutes in a 96-66 loss to Cleveland on Tuesday. "Look," Carlisle told the newspaper, "there's still a long way to go, but he's making a strong case that he's deserving consideration for some playing time." Humphries, 24, wants just that. "There are a lot of things I do well," he recently told "I can score. I can rebound. I don't get outworked. If you put me on the floor, I will be a plus." e-mail:,

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Added: October 23, 2009


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