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News » Sloan not keeping tabs on Knicks

Sloan not keeping tabs on Knicks

Sloan not keeping tabs on Knicks The front office is no doubt doing it. Some Jazz fans are, too. But even though Utah gets the bumbling New York Knicks first-round pick ? and it could be a high lottery one ? don't count on Jerry Sloan to start scoreboard watching anytime soon.

"I don't worry about that. I can't worry about that," the Jazz coach said. "I've got the picks right here, guys we've got. ... I don't even want to talk about it. I'm aware of that pick. I'm also aware of ours." If he were keeping track, Sloan would know that the Jazz's magic number to secure the most ping-pong balls for determining the 2010 lottery draft order now sits at 79. The Knicks are off to an 0-3 start, and losing out would give the Jazz the highest odds of a winning a high pick. Sloan won't take the bait. "That's too bad," the coach said, when told about New York's slow start. "We still have to play them twice." Utah's first game against the Knicks is next Monday at Madison Square Garden, where the Jazz haven't won since 2004. The teams have split their two-games-per-season series the past three years, but New York has won seven of their past 10 meetings. It would do his team well to have the Knicks struggle this season ? and make New York feel less bad about losing the long-due, trade-related pick if it's lower in the first round ? but Sloan has never liked the losing-your-way-to-higher-picks-and-better-players theory. That concept was brought up a lot when he was a player with expansion Chicago, beginning in 1966-67. "I'd rather not be in a situation where you've gotta lose," Sloan said. "Why play Basketball if you're going to lose to get good players? And then everybody (says), 'Oh, what a smart move they made.' "I'm not into Basketball for that reason," he added, "and I've seen it happen." Sloan didn't mention when and where he witnessed that ? and, no, he didn't even hint about a certain team that plays by the Alamo ? but he laughed about a situation in which his bosses suggested it might be for their team's best interest to lose a game. That happened, Sloan claimed, after he was asked and agreed to fill in for outgoing coach Ed Badger for the final game of Chicago's season in 1978. "They said, 'If we win the game, we get a worse pick,'" Sloan recalled. "I said, 'Well, I'm not going down there with that in my mind to try to lose the game. That's not what I'm (all) about. I'm only interested in trying to win.'" The Bulls, by the way, lost that game. Sloan's coaching might have factored into the loss, who knows. But it wasn't on purpose. "I did a (lousy) job," he said, chuckling. IN THE BOOKS: It took a game, but rookie Eric Maynor scored the first points of his NBA career on Friday by sinking two free throws with 39 seconds remaining in the first quarter. "A couple of guys (told) me, 'Congratulations,'" he said. Maynor still hasn't been credited for taking an official field goal or dishing out an assist. "Not only did I play the road game, I played a home game," the first-round pick from VCU said. "All of the jitters are out of the way now. I can just go ahead and play now." Wesley Matthews, the undrafted first-year small forward from Marquette, is still waiting for his NBA scoring debut. His only shot ? a somewhat rushed one with two guys closing in quickly ? was blocked by Denver's Joey Graham. Matthews feels doing his part in helping the team win ? making the extra pass, cuts, or whatever ? is more important than piling up points. "I don't think about that," Matthews said about getting his first score. "My main thing is to work my butt off in practice and hopefully earn playing time. ... The points will come, hopefully." ROCKET FAN: Experts have picked the Rockets to finish low because Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady are out with injuries. Sloan isn't among the Houston dissers. And he's not about to overlook tonight's Jazz opponent, which is 2-1 thanks to quick starts by L.A. transplant Trevor Ariza (23.3 ppg) and Aaron Brooks (21.7 ppg, 8.3 apg). "They're a terrific team," Sloan said. "They're going to play hard. I've known Rick (Adelman) for years. His teams always play hard." Added Deron Williams: "It's definitely going to be different without those two guys. Those are cornerstones of their organization for the last six, seven years, but they've still got good players, solid players that are capable of winning Basketball games." e-mail:

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Added: November 3, 2009


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