News » Jazz defenseless despite big talk

Jazz defenseless despite big talk

Jazz defenseless despite big talk In the preseason, the Utah Jazz talked the talk, declaring the key to a successful season was improvement on defense.

Since the start of the regular season, however, they haven't stopped anybody.

The Jazz's inability to defend was never more apparent than Monday night, when the Houston Rockets strolled into EnergySolutions, shot 57 percent in the second half and rolled to a stunningly easy 113-96 victory.

The Rockets, playing without injured stars Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady, scored at least 25 points in every quarter.

In three games, Jazz opponents have scored 25 points or more in 10 of 12 quarters.

For Houston, eight different players reached double figures, including rookie Chase Budinger. After managing a total of 20 points in the Rockets' three previous games, he ripped the Jazz for 17.

"Our scheme is good," Ronnie Brewer insisted. "But you have to all be on the same page. You have to stay in front of your man. You have to execute."

Early in the decisive fourth quarter, the game was tied, 80-80. But Houston hit eight of its next nine shots, including four straight three-pointers and two layups.

"It's like an old record," Brewer said. "... Guys want to do it but the effort has to be there game in and game out."

Asked if Jazz fans questioning their team's commitment to defense three games into a new season is fair, Paul Millsap said, "It's very fair until we do it. Talking about it isn't enough."

Heading into Tuesday night's game at Dallas, Jazz opponents average 108.3 points per game.

Can Utah improve?

"Hope so," said Deron Williams. "I'm not saying we can't. I don't know. We just have to have more determination to get stops and not let people score."

The Jazz , who started 4-0 last season, slipped to 1-2 after losing to Houston. It's their worst three-game start since 2002-03.

"If you aren't going to defend," said coach Jerry Sloan, "it's pretty tough to have a chance to win." No Fort Knox

The offensive numbers for the Jazz's first three opponents this season:

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 4, 2009


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