The Utah Jazz have won eight of their 14 road games since the new year started, once that dreadful December when they lost nine of 10 away from home was out of the way.
So maybe this doesn't really matter.
But leading scorer and rebounder Carlos Boozer's averages on the road have fallen off by 4.8 points and a full rebound since the start of the year from what he has totaled for the entire season to date.
With the Jazz starting a four-game road trip at Chicago on Tuesday, then moving on to Milwaukee Wednesday, Boston Friday and New Jersey Saturday, it will be at least interesting to see if the Northwest Division-leading Jazz can continue to win while spending the nights in hotel beds, especially if Boozer cannot pick up where he used to be.
He is positive that he will.
"I don't worry about it. I know I'm going to play great down the stretch. We're going to get some road wins and go into the playoffs on a good note," he said.
For the whole 2007-08 season of home games, Boozer is averaging 21.7 points and 10.7 rebounds. For the whole season on the road, he is averaging 21.4 points and 10.6 rebounds.
For the 14 road games since January started, his numbers show 16.6 points and 9.6 rebounds.
Even in December, when the Jazz couldn't do much right, Boozer averaged 23.1 and 11.5. Through October and November games, he was averaging 25.4 and 11.2.
December can perhaps be explained partially because center Mehmet Okur missed six road games, so Boozer likely had to score and rebound more.
And Boozer's drop in numbers recently may be partially explained by Okur's recent surge of big scoring and double-doubles, though that has mainly been biggest the last seven games. Okur has had four 20-points-plus and eight double-figure rebounding road games since the new year began. He's had five double-doubles in his last six games, three on the road, and six in his last eight, and had 24 points in one of the two in which he didn't reach double-figure rebounds.
But Boozer's home numbers (20.6/10.0 since Jan. 1) haven't trailed off nearly as much, and Okur has had more big home games than big road games.
"That probably has something to do with it," coach Jerry Sloan said of Okur's stronger numbers lately affecting Boozer's.
"Teams probably play him a little bit differently (now). That has something to do with it," added Sloan. "He (Carlos) usually has a bigger guy on him most of the time.
"His field goal percentage is probably struggling, too."
It is, from 50.9 for the entire road season to 43.9 the last 14 road games.
"Those are things that he and every player has got to work through," Sloan said.
Boozer does not seem to be agonizing over the falloff.
"I'm just going to keep playing," he said. "I'm not going to worry about that, think about that."
He offered no explanation. "Nah, just keep playing," he said when asked if he knew what was wrong.
"That's going to happen, but no reason to look back. I had a great game (at Phoenix Friday, 23 points but only four rebounds). (I'm) looking forward to the games in Chicago and Milwaukee and Boston and New Jersey."
"He had four points in the first half (at Phoenix Friday) and 19 in the second half," said Sloan, agreeing the last road test was a good game for Boozer and noting the rebound total was likely because, "They had Shaq (7-foot-1, 325-pound Shaquille O'Neal; Boozer is 6-9, 266) on him. That makes a big difference."
After Saturday's huge home win over Denver to put four games between the Jazz and their closest rival, a game in which Okur went for 27 and 11 and made six 3-pointers as the Nuggets collapsed on Boozer, and Boozer still posted 23 and 11, the power forward was nothing but positive about himself and his team.
"We're going to keep grinding, keep working hard, keep being aggressive, keep attacking and have big games down the stretch," he said."We've got to win every game we play. We know that we do have a little cushion, but we don't want to look at it that way, otherwise they may shorten that gap. We need to continue to focus on us, and if I can have some good road games," he said with a wink and a smile, "if we can play good on the road and win some games, hopefully it will take care of itself."
Carlos Boozer home/road statistics since Jan. 1
Home statistics ... Field goals ... Free throws ... Rebounds ... Scoring
8 home games in February/March ... 71-123/.577 ... 21-31/.677 ... 100/12.5 ... 161/20.1
9 home games in January ... 81-134/.604 ... 28-33/.848 ... 70/7.8 ... 190/21.117 home games since Jan. 1 ... 152-257/.591 ... 49-64/.766 ... 170/10.0 ... 351/20.6
Road statistics ... Field goals ... Free throws ... Rebounds ... Scoring
10 road games in February/March ... 67-137/.489 ... 49-66/.742 ... 92/9.2 ... 183/18.3
4 road games in January ... 20-61/.327 ... 9-15/.600 ... 42/10.5 ... 49/12.314 road games since Jan. 1 ... 87-198/.439 ... 58-82/.701 ... 134/9.6 ... 232/16.6
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