Welcome to the favorite road stop of the Utah Jazz. Well, sort of.
Despite the always-gloomy weather, the lack of things to do, the remoteness of the hotel and arena, the Jazz have enjoyed their best road success here.Over the last eight years, the Jazz have won seven times at The Coliseum in Richfield, their only loss coming two years ago.
That's the compensation for having to spend an inordinate amount of time here. In each of the last two years, the NBA schedule-maker left the Jazz in Cleveland for three days between stops on a long road trip.
This year the Jazz only had a day and a half to waste before the game (tonight, 5:30 p.m., KSTU-TV). And they're getting out as fast as possible, leaving on a charter flight right after the game for Indianapolis, where they play Saturday.
The Jazz coaches and players have little good to say about their annual trip to Cleveland, where it was cold, gray and lightly snowing when they arrived Thursday.
"I've never seen it nice here," said Jazz assistant Phil Johnson. "I've never seen any clear blue sky."
Mark Eaton has spent more than his share of time here during his 9-year career. "We usually spend three days here. It goes way back. It seems like we've spent a lifetime here."
Jazz Coach Jerry Sloan says there are worse road stops in the NBA. "A lot of people say they don't like it, but I don't mind it," he said.
Sloan is most concerned about his 25-12 team getting up for a 12-25 team that just ended an 11-game losing streak Wednesday night.
"These are the toughest games to play," he said. "You're expected to win and sometimes there's a tendency for the players to drop off a bit. But when you go on the road, no game is easy."
JAZZ NOTES: Karl Malone, whose eye was swollen for a day after getting it poked by David Robinson Tuesday night, has been practicing and should be ready . . . Eaton missed two games last weekend because of the flu, but is getting stronger each day and should play his regular minutes . . . The Cavaliers, who lost starters Mark Price and Hot Rod Williams to injuries, are led by Brad Daugherty (21.6 pts, 10.2 reb.) . . . Just 10 days ago in Salt Lake, the Jazz cruised to a 110-88 victory over the Cavs.