Sometimes you lose focus and it’s normal, but Coach Quin gets on us and says, ‘Hey you’re losing focus.’ (Practice) is pretty hard, but it’s more mental — you have to keep your focus on what we’re doing in here. – Enes KanterSALT LAKE CITY — Jazz coach Quin Snyder has already given his players a couple of days off since the start of practice this month, including one on Friday. But he bristled Saturday after inferring from a question that his team didn’t practice as much as other NBA teams.“I don’t think there’s a team working harder than us in the first two weeks of the season in the NBA, no matter how many days we’ve had off,’’ he said.Snyder, whose team held a spirited two-hour practice Saturday at Zions Bank Basketball Center, went on to say that a team has to practice smart besides a lot.“My basic philosophy is practice and try to get better every day,’’ he said. “Some days you can inundate them with a lot of information and they need to process it and some days are spent getting shots. I feel as long as they practice hard we can be smart as far as how we practice.’’Jazz big man Enes Kanter agrees practices are plenty hard, and although he wouldn’t say they’re necessarily harder than last year, they are more focused.“We’re talking and communicating and going 100 percent,’’ Kanter said. “Sometimes you lose focus and it’s normal, but Coach Quin gets on us and says, ‘Hey you’re losing focus.’ (Practice) is pretty hard, but it’s more mental — you have to keep your focus on what we’re doing in here.’’Jazz newcomer Steve Novak, who has played for a variety of coaches in his 10-year career with seven different teams, has been impressed with Snyder and the way he is coaching the Jazz.“It’s a little different,’’ Novak said. “I’ve played for guys like Jeff Van Gundy and on the opposite side guys like Mike D’Antoni and in between those guys. I think Quin definitely understands for us to be successful, we have to be good defensively and talks about that a lot. But also offensively that’s where he’s a great basketball mind. We see that in the film sessions and in the huddles. He has a lot of offensive stuff that we haven’t even scratched yet.’’PLAYING FAST: Snyder has said he wants the Jazz to play more up-tempo this year and score in transition. He was honest, however, when asked if he had a number in mind of how many fast-break points per game he wanted from his team.“I still don’t know how they tally fast-break points — I don’t know what they are,’’ Snyder said with a smile. “To me it’s more big-picture stuff. We know we want to play fast and pass the ball. We’ll start to set some of those parameters of things we want to chart and things we want to strive for as we get a better picture of who we are. ’’JAZZ NOTES: The Jazz play the L.A. Clippers Monday night at 7 p.m. at EnergySolutions Arena before embarking on a four-game road trip, with three games in Southern California Thursday, Friday and Sunday and one in Oklahoma City on Tuesday. … Snyder said he expects rookie Rodney Hood to play Monday night. Hood missed the opening game with an injury, but was cleared to play for Thursday’s game. … Carrick Felix, who has been out with a shoulder injury, was a “partial” participant in Saturday’s practice. “He’s been working hard and getting medical treatment from the staff, so hopefully he’ll keep getting better to the point where he can play,’’ said Snyder. … After Monday, the Jazz have one more home preseason game, Oct. 24 against Phoenix.
The Monday night clash between AEK and Omonia is by far the most intriguing in Round 4 of the Cyprus football championship. Leaders AEL have a tricky game in Pafos while champions Apoel will play for the first time this season in front of their home crowd.Top of the table AEL are away to Pafos FC and will be aiming to maintain their perfect start to the season especially after their impressive away win against Anorthosis last week. AEL manager Dusan Kerkez did a fine job over the summer bringing in players full of athleticism and passion that suit his high-press style of play. Their media spokesperson Ariadne Genethliou though was quick to point out that the season has just begun and they should be wary of their opponents, who despite their lowly position are more than capable of posing a tough test for the Limassol side.Despite investing heavily over the summer Pafos FC have just one point from their opening two games and were easily beaten by Apollon last week. There were rumours throughout the week that their Scottish manager Steven Pressley was under pressure and that only a good performance and result against AEL would ensure his stay at the coastal team. Pressley is expected to ring the changes against AEL with Karo, Angulo and Policci all expected to start the game.Apoel were very fortunate to pick up six points from their opening two games against Ermis and Nea Salamina and their newly-appointed manager Giorgos Kosti knows that they cannot afford another poor display against Doxa Katokopias at the GSP stadium.Carlao and Efraim are both ruled out through injury while the only bright note in Apoel’s opening two games, the Jordanian Al Tamari, will face a late fitness test.Doxa made 17 signings this summer and this may be the reason for their slow start to the season. However last week they picked up their first three points after hitting four past Alki showing that they are on track for another good season.Alki who are pointless and without a goal face Anorthosis. Both sides lost their last games and will be looking to get back on track with Anorthosis firm favourites to win the game.The second team without a point, Enosis Neon Paralmniou, are at home to Ermis Aradippou with both sides capable of victory. The visitors though have a strong team and Paralimni will need to up their game if they are to get anything out of this clash.The final two games will take place on Monday due to Apollon and AEK’s involvement in the Europa League.Both play at home with Apollon entertaining Nea Salamina while at the Arena stadium AEK host Omonia.Saturday: Paralimni vs Ermis (18.00), Pafos FC vs AEL (20.00)Sunday: Apoel Doxa (18.00), Alki vs Anorthosis (20.00)Monday: AEK vs Omonia, Apollon vs Nea Salamina (both at 19.00)