Complimenting coaches were once teammates

Jan 8 2014 - 2:12pm

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Prior to Tuesday's Jazz-Thunder game, Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks recalled the days when he and Utah coach Tyrone Corbin were teammates playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the early 1990s.

"One of the greatest guys you'll ever meet," Brooks said. "A man of integrity, a man of commitment. I like what he was as a player and I like what he is as a coach. He's taken a young team and made them better."

Brooks was a 5-foot-11 backup point guard on the 1990-91 T-Wolves, averaging just over five points and two assists. Corbin, who is three years older than Brooks, was Minnesota's second-leading scorer, averaging 18 points, 7.2 rebounds and two steals a game.

He started all 82 games that season and averaged 39 minutes.

Corbin said he remembered Brooks as being highly competitive and Brooks returned the compliment.

"He's competitive," Brooks said. "You don't play in the NBA and not be competitive. Whether I'm a competitor, I don't know. I just do my job and try to do the best I can."

In a physical, emotional battle, Utah came away with a 112-101 victory. The Thunder had taken 10 of their last 12 with the Jazz.

GAME 37

Jazz 112, Thunder 101

BEST PLAY: Derrick Favors drives baseline and throws down a dunk on Kevin Durant, who makes a futile attempt to block it. Durant is called for the foul as he winds up on his backside, much to the delight to the crowd. But he calmly knocks down a jumper on the other side of the floor, cutting Utah's lead to 50-41.

BEST LINE: Gordon Hayward scored a career-high 37 points to go along with 11 rebounds, seven assists, two steals and a blocked shot for the Jazz. He was 13-for-16 from the field and 9-for-13 from the free throw line. OKC's Kevin Durant scored a game-high 48, the most scored in the NBA this season, but did so on 14-for-34 shooting from the field, 13-for-17 from the line.

KEY STAT: Hayward was 10-for-11 from the field in the second half, including 7-for-8 in the fourth quarter.

BURKE IN THE BACKFIELD: Jazz rookie Trey Burke said Tuesday he caught only the last seven or eight minutes of Monday's BCS national title game but that was more than enough to appreciate what he was seeing. The game had a thrilling finish which featured three touchdowns in the final six minutes.

The point guard also said he played football and basketball until his freshman year in high school. On the field he was a two-way player: running back on offense, cornerback on defense.

"Honestly, I loved both of them," he said. "I didn't know which sport I liked more going into my freshman year of high school. Once I got there it was kind of like, 'I've got to pick one to try to focus on.' Now that I think about it, I wanted to continue to play football but I think it was best for me to just focus on basketball and try to get better."

ROSTER MOVES: The Jazz waived forward Mike Harris on Tuesday, giving them 14 players on their roster. Rookies Rudy Gobert and Ian Clark are on the roster but are currently playing for the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA's D-League.

Harris appeared in 20 games this season, averaging 4.2 points in 11.3 minutes per game.

INJURY REPORT: The Jazz didn't have Andris Biedrins (flu-like symptoms). ... The Thunder went without point guard Russell Westbrook (right knee) and forward Serge Ibaka (flu).

ETC.: The Jazz scored a season-high 59 points in the first half and went into the break leading 59-47. They shot a sizzling 58 percent in the half. Hayward led the way with 12 points. Nine of the 10 players used scored points. ... Durant led the Thunder with 22 points, shooting 8-for-14 from the field and going 5-for-5 from the free throw line. ... Hayward scored Utah's final 17 points. ... The Jazz had six blocked shots to OKC's two. Favors had three blocks, making the ninth time this season he has recorded three or more blocks. ... The Jazz shot a season-high 58.8 percent from the field.

UP NEXT: The Jazz will take on the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday.

Contact reporter Jim Burton at 801-625-4265, or at jburton@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter @StandardExJimbo.

 

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