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Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder wants better defensive effort

Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder directs his team during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Portland, Ore., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz are coming off a come-from-behind preseason victory against the Portland Trailblazers Sunday winning 123-112 despite the defensive struggles.

However, the team’s bench had to use a 24-8 run in the final five minutes of the game to earn the win. Head coach Quin Snyder expressed frustration over the defense.

“I didn’t think we played well,” Snyder said after Sunday’s win in Portland. “We didn’t play good defense and a lot of it was just not being focused. There were breakdowns, and I didn’t think we had the level of intensity that we needed on the defensive end.”

Portland’s Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, and Jusuf Nurkic combined for 64 points, but they also sat out the entire fourth quarter.

Jazz rookie Grayson Allen was on the floor at the end of the game assisting in the comeback. He scored eight points and dished out four assists in just under 14 minutes. However, Snyder also wants to see more out of the rookie defensively.

“Right now his biggest adjustment is transition defense, so he’s either going to make that adjustment or he’s not going to play,” Snyder said. “I hope he reads that.”

Allen says he believes he can contribute to the team’s identity of defense.

“Coach Snyder wants the team to become elite defensively, so if I’m out there, I need to be a part of that and I need to add to that,” Allen said. “Defense is the first thing that’ll get me either into the rotation or minutes on the court, whatever it is.”

The Jazz wrap up their final preseason game Thursday at Sacramento. They will travel back to the same spot for their season opener at the Kings on October 17th.