Al Jefferson was more than happy to show Saturday night that he can be an effective take-charge player for the Utah Jazz.
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin knows his job is a whole lot easier with Jefferson in his corner.
“It’s his veteran leadership and how he is growing and embracing the position and the respect on this team,” Corbin said. “The guys feed off of him so he did a great job especially in that third quarter just being a big guy inside and we were able to get the ball to him and they try and deny him early in the game but he continued to work and we were able to get it back around to him.”
Pounding the ball inside proved to be the key for Jefferson and the Jazz.
“I told Paul (Millsap), ‘it starts with us’. We lead, and everybody else is going to follow,” Jefferson said. “And that’s what we did. Basically that’s what I said to myself, I said I have to take the game over. It starts with me and Paul and I think once me and him set that tone, everybody else fell in line. But number one is the defense, we played great defense. We talked to each other, we helped each other, and all of a sudden their shots weren’t coming so easily.”
Jefferson continues to have an outstanding season for the Jazz with 17 points and 10 boards a game.
“Especially the way last night went, it was definitely a win that we had to come and get to finish the road trip off right,” Jefferson. “But it’s still kind of a little bitter taste in your mouth, because we’re suppose to be 3-0 on this trip. We were supposed to win this game last night, then we almost gave the game up tonight. But at this point in time, a win is a win and we’re going to take it any way we can get it.”
The Jazz lost 103-95 Friday to the Atlanta Hawks.