My sympathies are with the Utah Jazz because I lived in Utah and watched
them and the Utah Stars in the old ABA League before them. I still love to
watch Utah sports – whether it’s the University Football, basketball, or baseball
team (the latter of which on which I played for three seasons).
Baseball is a much better sport than basketball, but oh, what the heck. I still love
those Jazz. I hated to see the legend Jerry Sloan quit mid-season like he did – on
a losing streak. That definitely isn’t Sloan-esque. But there is a lot about his departure
we don’t know about. It could have something to do with Derek Williams and/or the
new owner of the Jazz. I know if Larry Miller had still been alive and running things, it
would all be different.
Good luck to Ty Corbin, a former Jazz and University of Utah B-ball player,
and a good one.
Jazz lose first game since Sloan
11 hours, 46 minutes ago
He and the Phoenix Suns were ready.
Nash had 18 points and 10 assists to lift the Suns over the Jazz 95-83 on
Friday night, spoiling the debut of new Utah coach Ty Corbin.
“The energy in the building was big and we knew something was going to happen,
” Nash said. “They obviously felt inspired to win for their new coach and we just
had to weather the storm.”
Nash scored 13 of his 18 points in the second
half as the Suns sizzled and the Jazz fell flat after
taking a 15-point lead in the first. The Suns outs
cored the Jazz 51-27 over the final two quarters
and won going away.
“It was very emotional to start the game and we played
“Mentally, the guys were drained. It’s been a tough few
days with the losses and what happened with coach on
top of that.”
Sloan was a fixture on Utah’s bench for 26 years, 23 as a
head coach—the longest active tenure in major American
professional sports before he abruptly retired Thursday.
“It was weird and different when I looked to the bench
and expected Coach Sloan to call a play,” Millsap said.
The Hall of Famer is the third-winningest coach in NBA
history with a record of 1,221-803. Corbin is still looking
for his first as a head coach at any level.
“We ran out of gas,” Corbin said. “In the second half, we
just got away from everything we were doing.”
but the short-handed Jazz were out of sync and have
dropped 11 of 15.
Some said a clash with Williams was to blame for
Sloan’s departure, but Sloan said he merely lost the
energy needed to coach in his famously intense manner.
When Williams, who openly challenged Sloan at times
this season, was introduced before the game, loud cheers
were mixed with a measure of boos.
“Maybe I feel a little more pressure now,” Williams said.
“Do I care what the fans think of me? Yeah, I’d be lying if
I didn’t. I don’t want them to think I ran a Hall of Fame coach
out. But I can’t get caught up in that anymore. … They
can choose who they want to believe.”
Meanwhile, the Suns (26-25), who have won four straight
against Utah, are headed the other direction. Phoenix
moved above .500 for the first time since Dec. 7 with its
sixth win in seven games.
“When things weren’t pretty for us, we had guys step up
for us,” Nash said. “It may not be in our mentality that
defense is going to win us games, but we’ve been playing
that way the last three weeks and defense has us winning.”
Corbin, a former Jazz player in the 1990s who has been
an assistant coach since 2004, received a sustained ovation as he walked into the arena and
took his place in front of Utah’s bench. Before the game, the new coach acknowledged he
was nervous and joked he might call Sloan at halftime for some advice.
But he and the Jazz were fine in the first half, and led 56-44 at the break.
a 66-63 lead.
“The key was energy,” Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry said. “Hakim and Marcin gave
us that. They helped turn around the hustle plays and made a big difference.”
second quarter and limped to the locker room, the Jazz were down to nine healthy
The Jazz appeared energized from the start and raced out to a 13-2 lead. Corbin
sat in his seat most of the time, rising only to call a play or remind a player of a
“We were all high on emotion,” Hayward said. “We were all into it and wanted to
play for Coach Ty, but defensively we didn’t get stops and we couldn’t get
Notes: Former Jazz star Karl Malone sat courtside and told reporters
before the game he was shocked that Sloan abruptly resigned
because “Coach don’t quit nothing.” … “Come Home Sloan” and
“Can’t We Just Kiss and Make Up” were some of the signs lamenting
Sloan’s departure. … Kirilenko missed three games in early February
Jazz bench to offer congratulations to Corbin before the opening tip.