Down 0-2, Jazz leave Oakland 'encouraged, more determined'

Down 0-2, Jazz leave Oakland 'encouraged, more determined'

OAKLAND -- The Utah Jazz are grasping at straws. After another tough defeat at the hands of the high-powered Golden State Warriors, the series shifts to Utah for Game 3 and it’s back to the drawing board for Quin Snyder and his staff.

“You’re encouraged about some of the things you did,” Snyder said of whether his team should be encouraged or discouraged heading back home 0-2. “I wouldn’t use the word discouraged as much as we need to be more determined to play better other aspects of the game”

Snyder had to lead his team into battle without his starting point guard George Hill, who missed the contest with a toe injury. With Hill ailing, reserve guard Shelvin Mack picked up the start and posted a solid game for Utah. Mack shot 4-for-11 from the field on his way to 14 points and four assist in the loss.

“He was aggressive, he competed, you could see the effort and the intensity,” Snyder said. “That’s all you want is a guy to go out and leave it out there and compete and that’s what he did.”

After a quiet Game 1, Gordon Hayward came to play. Hayward finished the opener with just 12 points on 4-of-15 shooting, but he looked like a completely different player in Game 2.

The All-Star wing went off late, scoring 21 of his 33 points in the second half. He shot 11-of-21 from the field, including three makes from behind the 3-point stripe and he managed to add four assists and grab five rebounds.

Utah has yet to take a lead in either of the first two games. They trailed 33-15 at the end of the first quarter and spent the next 36 minutes trying to dig out of the hole.

“After we got blitzed there in the first quarter, once we settled in, we kind of figured it out a little bit,” Hayward said. “We figured out how to get it into the paint and get some shots for ourselves - some better looks. Our spacing was a lot better and we’re going to have to try and take that and move forward with it.”

Like Hayward, big man Rudy Gobert had a tough first game against Golden State. Known for his ability to block shots, Gobert has had to adjust to playing against a myriad of different looks from the Warriors.

The 7-foot-1 center aggressively attacked the Warriors on the offensive end, scoring 16 points on 8-of-12 shooting. He added 16 rebounds, but failed to block a shot in his 37 minutes on the court.

“First of all, I’m feeling better physically,” Gobert said. “I had a few injuries last series, but I’m just feeling better and you kind of get used to playing these guys and their physicality. So every game we try and get better and I feel like I’m feeling better every game.”

Following the Warriors win, the series shifts to Utah where the Jazz will host Game 3 on Saturday and Game 4 on Monday with the hopes to staving off elimination.

“Definitely excited to play in front of our fans, I know they’ll be excited to have us and we’re going to need them,” Hayward said. “They’ll be really important for us. They always bring us a lot of energy and it will be fun playing in front of our fans.”

The Jazz haven’t been home in a while after finishing their series on the road on Sunday against the Los Angeles Clippers. They’ll need to take at least one game in Utah if they hope to get back to Oracle Arena for a Game 5 late next week.

Myers: 'It's painful' that Kerr not able to treasure being in NBA Finals

Myers: 'It's painful' that Kerr not able to treasure being in NBA Finals

OAKLAND -- Warriors coach Steve Kerr is no closer to resuming full-time duties than he was a week ago, or even a month ago.

Out since April 23, when he announced he was taking a leave of absence to address chronic pain in the wake of multiple back surgeries nearly two years ago, Kerr has been a constant presence the past two weeks but not on the bench during games.

“He’s doing everything but coaching, but at this point, he’s not able to coach,” general manager Bob Myers said Thursday after practice. “I wish could say that he was. I’m sure he wishes he could as well. But that’s where we are.

“If something changes and he feels better, I’ll sit here or, better -- he would sit here -- and tell you. But right now, I can’t say that he’s going to be coaching.”

Though Kerr did not address media Thursday, he indicated earlier this week that he would be comfortable going into the NBA Finals, which begin June 1, with acting head coach Mike Brown at the helm.

“We’re 12-0,” Kerr told NBCSportsBayArea.com. “I feel great about where the team is. I know we can play better. I think the challenge we’re about to face, one way or the other, is going to take us to another level.”

The Warriors under Kerr finished the regular season with a league-best 67-15 mark, earning the No. 1 overall seed for the playoffs. Kerr coached Games 1 and 2 of the first round against Portland before surrendering head coaching duties to Brown.

The Warriors are 10-0 since Brown took over, 27-1 over their last 28 games since March 11.

Still, they would like Kerr to regain health and join them in their quest for a second championship in three years.

“It’s hard for me; I’m kind of in this basketball mode,” Myers said. “But he’s a person and he’s not feeling well. And that’s what makes it hard. More than how it reflects on our team is how he’s feeling that makes it very difficult to have to sit here and say that the man that’s hugely responsible for us being in The Finals for three years in a row, in a moment that he should be treasuring, can’t do it.

“It’s painful. And I know it’s painful for him, more than anybody. And I wish and he wishes and I’m sure you guys do, too, that there was something that could get him there. But right now, we’re not at that point.”

LeBron: Chasing Jordan 'my personal goal to keep me motivated'

LeBron: Chasing Jordan 'my personal goal to keep me motivated'

BOSTON -- LeBron James says his chase of Michael Jordan's accomplishments is simply personal motivation. It's not about wanting to establish himself as the NBA's greatest player.

James spoke Thursday during the morning shootaround before the Cavaliers play the Boston Celtics in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals.

If the Cavaliers advance, James would be making a seventh consecutive trip to the NBA Finals.

He said his goal is not about passing Jordan in titles, points or MVP awards. James is 28 points shy of overtaking Jordan as the postseason's leading scorer. With 40 more points, James could also become the first player in NBA history to score 6,000 points in the playoffs.

But the Cavaliers superstar says his pursuit is about leaving a legacy to motivate the next generation of players.

"It's just my personal goal to keep me motivated, that's all," James said. "You guys are gonna have the conversations about who's the greatest of all time and things of that nature, it doesn't matter to me."

He also said he believes that the greatness conversation is discussed more often in the NBA than in other sports.

"It's never talked about (in the) NFL, who's the greatest quarterback. It's just like (Dan) Marino, (John) Elway, (Peyton) Manning, (Tom) Brady - all great quarterbacks. It should be the same for us," James said. "We go out and just try to be as great as we can be every night.

"The comparison of always trying to compare people, either living or still playing or not playing - I think it's great for barbershops."