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Utah Jazz: This time, Enes Kanter's defense praised

Published March 2, 2014 8:56 pm

Jazz notes • Third-year center holds his own against Pacers' big men.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Indianapolis • Enes Kanter can score.

With his footwork inside and the soft touch on his mid-range jumper, the third-year center's offense is rarely the subject of post-game criticism.

His defense? That's another story.

But on Sunday night, Kanter's play against Roy Hibbert, David West and Ian Mahinmi earned praise from his coach and teammates.

"He was really paying attention to details and I thought he got a lot better tonight," Jazz coach Ty Corbin said.

Kanter and Derrick Favors combined to hold Hibbert to just 2 points on 1-of-9 shooting.

"He did a great job," Jazz forward Marvin Williams said. "Enes is a big physical guy. Obviously with West and Hibbert out there, that matchup is not really the best for myself and Jeremy [Evans]. Enes was great. He was locked in from the start of shootaround today and it showed."

Shielded

With a crowd of local reporters surrounding Indiana native Gordon Hayward after Sunday morning's shootaround, Richard Jefferson couldn't help himself. The Jazz forward joined the pack, stuck his iPhone in Hayward's face and asked him about the Captain America nickname that Jefferson himself had doled out.

"That question has already been asked, sir," Hayward responded.

"It looks like everybody has kind of got their best material ready for you," one reporter said of the razzing Hayward received upon returning to his hometown.

"Yeah, they do. They always do," he responded.

Confidence

Brandon Rush started his NBA career in Indiana, where he averaged 9 points and 3.5 rebounds and shot 40 percent from 3 over three seasons as a Pacer.

Rush is averaging career lows in points, rebounds and shooting percentage. Sunday marked the third time in four games he did not play.

So how can he get back to his pre-injury form?

"Just keep getting his confidence and keep working," Corbin said. "He had a tough injury. He took a lot of time off. He's made some strides this year. I think his confidence is coming. I don't think it's where he or anybody wants it to be just yet, but he's made some strides."