Oh for the love of home.
So the Jazz had to be thinking Tuesday night, when they opened a four-game homestand at sold-out EnergySolutions Arena with something that lately they've found so hard to come by on the road.
Yes, it was a blowout.
More so than that, though, it was simply the realization of a victory of any sort that the Jazz seemed to savor so much.
Power forward Carlos Boozer spurred the win, bouncing back from a season-low six-point effort in last Saturday's loss at Portland Utah's 10th defeat in its last 11 outings away from home to score a game-high 22 points and lift the Jazz over Indiana 111-89.
Four others with the Jazz scored in double figures as well, including a bench-high of 16 on 6-of-9 field shooting from Matt Harpring.
"We had some tough games on the road in the last month," Jazz point guard Deron Williams said, "and it's definitely good to get back home and get some home games under our belt, get the crowd behind us and hopefully get some confidence back."
The Jazz, now 19-17 overall and 13-3 in the comfy confines of EnergySolutions, sure need reassurance, too.
Some within, after all, seemingly have started to wonder if this club has what it takes to get back into the NBA postseason let alone repeat as Western Conference finalists.
"They have realize that if they're going to make the playoffs they can't say, 'Well, we'll get it next game,' " Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said after his club won its third straight at home amid a streak with losses in 12 of their previous 17 overall.
"Every time you step out there you have to put a lot of energy into it," added Sloan, who knows too well that, at least for the time being, Utah albeit just 36 games into an 82-game season remains out of a playoff position in the West.
The Jazz certainly did what Sloan wanted early on, scoring 40 first-period points tying their high for points in a period this season to take a 21-point advantage into the second.
Boozer had 10 of his 22 in the game's first 10 minutes.
And by the time backup point guard Jason Hart knocked down a 22-foot jumper with 8:14 remaining before the break, Utah's lead was up to a first-half high of 28.
"Our energy was definitely higher than it has been in a long time," Williams said. "We had 29 deflections at halftime so, you know, guys were hustling."
"We came aggressive defensively, and aggressive offensively," Boozer added. "And we maintained that throughout the game."
Actually, though, there was a bit of a dip.
Indiana (16-20, including six straight road losses) used a late second-quarter surge to get back to within 17 at halftime, and buckets by Jamaal Tinsley and Troy Murphy made it at 13-point game 67-54 early in the third.
"We let them creep back into it, let them get some confidence right before halftime and it carried over, because they came out and hit a couple shots," Williams said. "But we were able to get our composure back, start playing defense again and get out and run."
Boozer answered Murphy's basket with a 17-foot jumper, and by the end of the third Utah's lead was back up to 24 on the 26-turnover Pacers.
The Jazz extended that to as many as 32 when Harpring hit a 17-foot jumper of his own with 7:18 left, and they led by 20 or more the rest of the way as all five Jazz starter enjoyed the entire final quarter while watching from the bench.
Sloan, naturally, had a few complaints to register afterward.
"We had some guys get a little tired, at the end of the third quarter," he said. "You see, at the end of the quarter, guys having a tough time running up and down.
"I have to be honest about it."
It's not fibbing, though, to suggest that some in the Jazz locker room saw things just a bit differently.
"I think our energy was great, I think our hustle was great," said Williams, who finished with 10 points and a game-high nine assists. "The crowd got into it and gave us some motivation, and guys just played hard. That's what we have to every night."It is, even especially with road wins so hard to come by lately when the Jazz have a chance to actually enjoy the luxury of being in their own house.
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