Jazz veterans warn against coasting into All-Star break

Jazz big man Al Jefferson isn’t looking ahead to the All-Star break. He knows it’s coming, of course, but he said prior to Tuesday’s game with Oklahoma City he’s not coasting into the five-day layoff.

The Jazz will host the Thunder tonight then visit Minnesota on Wednesday. After that, it’s time for a bit of rest and relaxation.

Until then, Big Al said he’s focused.

“I would think it would be hard for the young guys (to remain focused),” Jefferson said. “I remember when I was a second or third year player I couldn’t wait ’til the break. Now it’s my ninth year, I know how important it is to finish it off with a good run.”

The Jazz (28-14) have dropped two in a row and three of their last five heading into Tuesday’s game with OKC (39-12), the Western Conference’s second-best team behind San Antonio (41-12).

“We’re desperate. Pretty desperate right now,” veteran forward Paul Millsap said. “We don’t want to go into the All-Star break on a nasty little losing streak.”

Jazz forward Marvin Williams, another veteran, said coasting into the break can be an issue for younger teams. He said he thinks the Jazz aren’t one of them, however.

“Some teams it may,” he said. “Obviously the last five games coming into the All-Star break some teams might have a little bit of slippage. But I think we’ve talked about it enough (and) we’ve got somewhat of an older ballclub. I think guys understand the urgency of closing out the break before the break on a good note.”

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About Jim Burton

Jim Burton has worked for the Standard-Examiner since 1991. He has covered everything from the preps to Utah, BYU, Weber State and the Ogden Raptors. Currently he is the Standard's Utah Jazz beatwriter and its sports columnist.
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