Back in the starting lineup after missing three games due to lower-back inflammation, Jazz small forward Andrei Kirilenko shocked even himself Saturday night.
"It feels normal," Kirilenko said after scoring 16 points, dishing eight assists and pulling down seven rebounds while logging 34 minutes in Utah's 119-115 win over Orlando.
"I'm a little bit surprised," Kirilenko added, "because I was expecting a little stiffness. But it feels good."
Asked if he thought his back woes were over for now, Kirilenko quickly responded, "I hope so."
With Kirilenko back, by the way, reserve swingman C.J. Miles who had started all three games in his absence dressed but did not play (coach's decision).
Miles even lost his backup shooting guard role Saturday to Kyle Korver, who arrived in a late-December trade with Philadelphia.
Jazz point guard Deron Williams, meanwhile, said he was not seriously injured even though trainer Gary Briggs spent the last couple minutes of Saturday's game stretching his left shoulder.
"It's my back spasms in my back," Williams said. "Nothing too serious. It will go away."
OH SO FREE: Magic big man Dwight Howard shot 16-of-24 from the free-throw line Saturday, tying according to the team's media guide the Jazz's franchise opponent record for regular-season freebies attempted by an individual player.
Phoenix's Kevin Johnson attempted 24 in a 1990 game, and Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers did the same in 1997.
"That would be nice one day to have 24 free throws," said Jazz power forward Carlos Boozer, whose career high for attempts from the line is just 15.
ALUMNI UPDATE: Former Jazz forward Scott Roth, who most recently has been working as a personnel scout for the Milwaukee Bucks, late last week was named head coach of the NBA Development League's Bakersfield Jam.
He replaces ex-UCLA head coach Jim Harrick, who resigned last month.
Roth, who played 42 regular-season games for the Jazz during the 1987-88 and '88-89 seasons, also serves as head coach of the Dominican Republic national team. He has worked previously as an NBA assistant coach in Memphis and Dallas, and coached the Turkish national team at the 2001 FIBA World Championships.
TRADE TALK: One more voice weighing in on the trade that brought Korver to Utah for swingman Gordan Giricek and lottery protected future first-round draft pick belongs to TNT analyst and ex-NBA head coach Doug Collins, who said, "Kyle Korver is going to be a welcome addition to (the Jazz). ... He's a stable guy, a great team guy in the locker room. He can shoot the ball, and throw the ball in the post, which is a lost art. ... He is really going to help this team. A lot of Western Conference teams were very unhappy that Utah was able to make this trade."MISC.: Reserve combo guard Ronnie Price of the Jazz missed his third straight game due to a sprained left ankle. ... Jazz backup small forward and ex-Magic player Matt Harpring returned Saturday after missing Thursday's win over Phoenix because his wife Mandy was giving birth to the couple's second child, Kate Eileen. . . . Former Jazz point guard Carlos Arroyo of the Magic, who is averaging 18.8 minutes per game this season, dressed but did not play (coach's decision). . . . Usual Jazz TV play-by-play announcer Craig Bolerjack called Saturday's Oklahoma State vs. Texas Tech college basketball game for CBS, so Steve Brown filled in as usual. ... In the crowd: Boozer's wife CeCe, son Carmani and twins Cayden and Cameron,watching their first game as a family in Utah since relocating from Miami, where Carmani has been battling sickle cell anemia.
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