Now 20-17, the suddenly resurgent Jazz have won four straight home games and four of their last five overall.
After beating Phoenix on Thursday night and heading into tonight's game against Orlando in the third outing of a four-game homestand, Utah is an impressive 14-3 this season at EnergySolutions Arena but remains just 6-14 away from home.
Theories behind the disparity abound.
"I think we kind of a little bit lay down on the road," forward Andrei Kirilenko said. "Not relax in the game, but like kind of give the momentum to home team first rather than just come and play.
"But that usually happens with every team in the NBA even with the greatest teams," Kirilenko added. "So we need to be 'don't think about it, keep playing."'
Jazz coach Jerry Sloan's thinking centers on a 5-11 December in which his club played 10 of its 16 games away from home and never seemed to find time to unpack its bags.
In fact, he made a rare concession that all the travel truly did take a toll.
"To be honest about it," said Sloan, whose team went just 1-9 on the road last month, "I think that took some energy away from them."
Not that it should matter where the Jazz are playing, Kirilenko and Sloan agreed."I still we have enough talent and enough skill from the guys that we can beat any team in NBA," Kirilenko said. "It's just a matter of being able to stay with our game."
INJURY UPDATES: Kirilenko returned to practice Friday, as did reserve combo guard Ronnie Price.
Kirilenko has missed the Jazz's last three games due to lower-back inflammation but reiterated Friday that he hopes to be able to play tonight.
"Right now," he said before his first practice in more than a week, "it feels good. I hope it can stay that way."
Price has missed the last two games due to a sprained left ankle but worked out Friday with so many layers of tape on his ankle about five that the Utah Valley State product said it felt like a soft cast.The Jazz are calling both "game-time decisions" for tonight.
ANTSY SPECTATOR: Even though they were both victories, Kirilenko suggested he hasn't at all enjoyed having to watch the Jazz play their first two home games of this week."It's always tough to sit and watch," he said. "I'd rather not come than watch. Because we're the players. Every time, we want to just jump in. ... But you should understand you should try to take care of yourself first, and try to recover as fast as possible."
HARPRING UPDATE: Jazz backup small forward Matt Harpring was not on hand for practice Friday but is expected to play tonight against his former Magic club.Harpring missed Thursday's win over Phoenix because his wife, Mandy, gave birth to the couple's second child during the game. The Harprings on Friday revealed that the 6-pound, 9-ounce girl has been named Kate Eileen.
MISC.: Ex-Jazz and current Magic point guard Carlos Arroyo's jersey No. 30 was retired last Saturday by Florida International University, where he played from 1997-2001 ... The No. 13 of Arroyo's former FIU and Jazz teammate, Phoenix swingman Raja Bell, was retired by the school last month ... Retired Jazz star and Louisiana native Karl Malone is among several current and former NBA players hailing from the state who are featured in a new Louisiana tourism ad campaign. The campaign is the result of a partnership with the league, whose Feb. 17 All-Star Game will be played in New Orleans.
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