Dec 31, 2010, 8:46 PM EDT
There was a lot of frustration in the Jazz locker room Thursday night after Utah lost to Portland for the second time in a week. They feel like things are slipping away.
The Jazz are not bad (22-11, four seed in the West), but they are clearly not elite in the way the Spurs, Lakers and Mavericks are — the record may be close but it doesn’t feel that way.
And it doesn’t look that way to Deron Williams, who spoke with the Salt Lake Tribune about his frustration.
Well, I’ve only felt we’ve played good in a couple stretches. Really the first road trip, we got lucky. We could easily have a lot worse record than we do right now. We got lucky. Everything might look good because of our record but — it’s not time to panic, but we have to play better.
I think (execution is) a big problem. I think you look at all the games where we’ve had success, we play well offensively. The defense has been pretty solid all year. We’ve had some bad games and we’ve had some games where we didn’t play well enough defensively, but we’ve let our offense dictate a lapse on defense. I’ve said it all season: When we come out and have under 22 assists, we’re not successful. It’s not Jazz basketball. That’s execution. We’re not screening, we’re not running the floor, we’re not gelling.
It’s something that’s going to take longer than we thought, you know? Everything wasn’t great my first year here, when we had some new guys, and it took us a while. That second year we came out and we just [played]. It’s something that’s going to take a little more time than we thought. Hopefully we can get it going sooner than later.
The Spurs are executing as well as anyone in the league, the Mavs are right there with them. The Lakers show flashes and it’s hard to doubt that when the playoffs roll around they will again be clicking.
But the Jazz, for them to have a chance they need to be playing nearly flawless basketball in the playoffs. And even that might not be enough, but they are a ways from there right now.
And quite frustrated about it.
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