Friday, September 7, 2007

Warriors rough up listless Jazz-Deseret News-by Rhett Wilkinson

Warriors rough up listless Jazz

For this Utah Jazz team, it has been a rough season, one filled with multiple injuries and many setbacks, painful growing experiences that no one would want to encounter.

Friday night at the Delta Center, this young group -- again missing guard Raja Bell due to injury, and of course without Andrei Kirilenko and Carlos Boozer -- endured another rather embarrassing defeat, falling 108-91 to fellow Western Conference cellar-dweller Golden State.

Largely in part to below-35 percent shooting from the field, the Jazz witnessed their 50th loss of the season.

Coach Jerry Sloan gave a reason for the dismal shooting percentage.

"We seem committed to watch guys trying to score and play one-on- one instead," he said. "When we get the ball and hold it and clear (the court) out, then we struggle."

Simple things such as executing their designed offense was one of many problems for Utah. Only two Jazz players managed to shoot above 50 percent -- Ben Handlogten and Kris Humphries. Handlogten registered his first career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

But neither he nor his coach were satisfied with the effort, which is something that has eluded the Jazz as the season has progressed.

"They just outplayed us," Handlogten said. "They moved the ball around and got some good shots outside and it just got worse."

The numbers concur.

Golden State pulled down 15 offensive rebounds and nailed 10 3- pointers, including five from Derek Fisher, who led his team in scoring with 19 points.

Fisher was one of a whopping seven Warriors who scored in double figures.

The Jazz did hold a narrow four-point advantage at the end of a free-throw contest commonly known as the first quarter.

However, it mainly went downhill from there.

Golden State went on a quick 12-1 run early in the second quarter, and the Jazz never were able to recover. By the time 18- point scorer Jason Richardson threw down a scintillating dunk late in the fourth quarter, the Jazz found themselves down 100-77 and the game all but over.

"Maybe I'm crazy, but it seems when we stay together, we have a chance to compete," Sloan said. "Sometimes it seems like our players think winning isn't important."

That is a harsh reality one must face as just 10 games remain on the schedule.

Jazz rookie Kirk Snyder, acknowledging that this year has been a bit of a grind, said, "We just have to try to find some positives, and that needs to be our focus in practice."

A focus that seems to be dwindling down as the losses pile up.

Rhett Wilkinson, a sophomore basketball player at Viewmont High School, is the winner of the Deseret Morning News' "Cover a Game" contest.

Copyright C 2005 Deseret News Publishing Co.
Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved.

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