WASHINGTON, D.C. -- It was all coming almost too easily for Shandon Anderson early this season. The Utah Jazz backup off-guard would enter the game at the start of the second quarter, like clockwork, to give Jeff Hornacek a rest. By halftime he'd have six, eight, 10, sometimes a dozen points. He'd add a few more in his second stint which would begin -- like clockwork -- at the start of the fourth.

Per minute played, Anderson was the second leading scorer on the team -- trailing only Karl Malone -- for the first several weeks of the season.But then things started getting considerably tougher. He went eight consecutive games without reaching double figures scoring. Teams were defending him differently and his shooting percentage fell. He failed to score a single point in a game last week against Cleveland. He grew frustrated.

But it also showed Anderson that teams were taking him seriously as an offensive threat now.

"I was open all the time on the weak side early in the year," said Anderson. "Now a guy is always near me. I've been trying to find other ways to get the ball. Teams have definitely been defending me different, using double teams and stuff."

His new method appears to have worked against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Anderson scored 10 against Minnesota on Saturday in the Delta Center to break into double digits for the first time in nine games. He followed it up by netting 10 in the second quarter alone against the T'Wolves on Monday in Minneapolis, finishing with a dozen points.

"It felt good," Anderson said, after his second double-digit game in a row. He'll try to make it three in a row Thursday night in the MCI Center when the Jazz play the first of three straight road games against Eastern Conference foes.

Hornacek has a simple explanation as to why scoring started becoming more difficult for his fellow Jazz off-guard.

"Teams watch film," he said.

Anderson was scoring the bulk of his points by posting up smaller guards early in the year.

"Teams were fronting him and he was getting layups when John (Stockton) and Howard (Eisley) lobbed the ball over the top," said Jeff Hornacek. "But teams have quit fronting him, quite simply."

They've also started double-teaming him at times when he tries to post up inside. With inside points becoming more difficult to come by, Anderson's outside shot, which he worked on during the offseason, becomes increasingly important.

View Comments

"He's mainly been getting his points inside," said Hornacek. "When he hits his outside jumper it helps a great deal. After he makes a couple of jumpers it's easier to post him up inside so he can get some baskets in there too."

Where inside or out, the Jazz rely on guys like Anderson, Eisley and Bryon Russell -- Utah's twentysomethings on a team led by thirtysomethings -- to be a major part of their offense.

"We need our young players to give us energy," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "We can't expect Stockton, Malone and Hornacek to give us energy every night. The young guys have to give us energy by playing hard and doing their thing. Shandon is critical to that."

The Jazz enjoyed a day off on Tuesday while traveling to the nation's capital. They practiced Wednesday morning in preparation for Thursday's game. The Wizards, meanwhile, were in Miami on Tuesday losing to the Heat. Washington is now 9-13 on the year.

Join the Conversation
Looking for comments?
Find comments in their new home! Click the buttons at the top or within the article to view them — or use the button below for quick access.