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Utah Jazz: Dad’s advice helps Raja Bell break slump

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Utah's Raja Bell looks for help against Cleveland's Daniel Gibson Monday.

Utah’s Raja Bell looks for help against Cleveland’s Daniel Gibson Monday.

Associated Press

CLEVELAND — The Utah Jazz might want to give an assist to Roger Bell in the box score of their 101-90 win Monday over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Turns out, some good old-fashioned fatherly advice played a key role in Raja Bell busting out of a slump to help Utah improve to 20-9.

Before the Jazz-employed Bell broke out for the best game in his second stint with Utah — a 19-point gem with five 3-pointers — he chatted with his pop about his recent shooting struggles.

"The one thing I could see on film was that there wasn't a good balance in my legs," said the Jazz starting shooting guard, whose previous season-high was 15 points. "So, (my dad) was saying just to finish my shot a little bit more and go ahead and make sure I got the ball up."

One, or both, of the Bells should get a bigger allowance. Coming into Monday's game having only hit 4 of his last 18 shots since returning from a three-game absence, Bell went 6-for-9 overall and sizzled in 5-of-6 from 3-point range.

Paul Millsap said Bell gave the Jazz "a big lift."

Added Millsap: "He helped us out big tonight. I think he's starting to find his niche, starting to get in, starting to find his spots on the court, and when he's knocking down shots, man, it's going to open a whole lot of stuff up for us."

This has been the second time this year Bell was worried about his shooting. Early on when his aim was off, he wondered if his shot would return after he missed most of 2009-10 because of a wrist surgery. It eventually did, and he's relieved it came back Monday after two separate groin injuries have plagued him the past month.

"This time around, it's a little easier for me because I knew it was going to come back," Bell said. "I just had to stick with it and not get frustrated and give myself a chance to kind of round into a little bit more shape. ... Hopefully, I'll keep shooting well."

Bell hit his first four shots in the first half for 11 points and going 3-for-3 from beyond the arc before the break.

"He's going through some injuries that have been tough on him," Williams said. "And it's hard to get in a rhythm when you play a couple of games and then you're out a couple of games. I thought he did a great job coming out and setting the tone for us."

Bell also credited Jazz assistant coach Scott Layden for some pregame prep.

"I worked with Scott before the game," he said, "and just made an effort to really focus on finishing the shot.

"And," Bell added, "dads know best."

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