DALLAS — To foul or not to foul.

That is the question.

And the Jazz seemed to have different answers after watching Josh Howard score a career-high 47 points in Dallas' 125-117 victory Saturday.

On one hand, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said afterward, "I don't want to see anybody get hurt, but you have to get up close enough to foul him."

On the other, power forward Carlos Boozer suggested, fouls are costing the Jazz dearly lately.

"The crazy thing about it is we're helping so much our big guys are getting into foul trouble trying to help too much," Boozer said. "As a team we've got to do a better job of trying to contain them without fouling them.

"At the end of the day," added Boozer, who was quick to point out that Howard attempted 17 free throws (and made 15), "if he makes the two shots you just have a foul — and they still have two points."

HMMM: Said Sloan before Saturday's game: "Young guys have a tendency to think, 'I've got to play for an All-Star berth rather than play for a championship' at an early age. A lot of them are looking for recognition ... And it's always been my impression the first thing you play for is to win to get the playoffs. That sometimes throws things out of synch at times.

"We're not good enough to have two guys go out there and say, 'OK, we can beat you.' We have to have 10 guys or 12 guys. Whoever steps out there, they have to play hard and, hopefully, intelligently."

Said Sloan after the game: "I don't care about numbers. If we get 15 guys go to the All-Star Game, that's fine. I don't care about what the deal is. All I'm interested in is trying to win, and we're obviously having a difficult time doing that on the road here of late."

MICROPHONE MESS: Under threat of fine, the NBA is forcing all coaches to be wired for sound during games aired this season by network partners ESPN, TNT and ABC.

Sloan had a microphone clipped to his tie for the sole benefit of ESPN's national broadcast of Friday's loss at San Antonio, and he was grumbling about the issue just as much afterward as he was beforehand.

"It was very uncomfortable," said Sloan, who readily admits that his salty language "gets a little bit ugly sometimes."

"But it's not a matter of whether you like it or not," Sloan added after the Jazz loss. "You've got to do it."

Sloan swore frequently throughout Friday's game, as he so often does in the heat of basketball battle. Because of a five-second delay, however, none of his cussing could be heard by ESPN viewers.

Coaches also are being forced to conduct between-quarters interviews during all national-network games.

Sloan took his turn Friday between the first and second, telling a sideline reporter "the biggest thing that helped us is we executed our offense" — really insightful stuff, in other words.

HE SAID IT: Boozer, on point Deron Williams' 41-point game in Dallas: "It was a tough loss for us, but he was incredible out there hitting shots. It was one of those games you wish we would have won just for him, so he can get more props on it. But in the loss none of that matters."

MISC.: Steve Brown called both Friday's and Saturday's games for KJZZ because usual Jazz television play-by-play man Craig Bolerjack worked Saturday's Duke-Michigan college basketball game for CBS ... In the crowd Saturday: Ex-Jazz forward Stephen Howard, who makes his home in the Dallas area. Howard played 100 regular-season games and 15 playoff games for Utah, and was a member of the Jazz's 1997 NBA Finals team ... In each of the five times the Jazz have played the second game of a back-to-back set on the road this season, they've lost — and each time they've yielded 100-plus points.

E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com