SALT LAKE CITY — After rallying to beat the Sacramento Kings last night, the Utah Jazz were able to turn their attention to one of the season's most anticipated games at practice this morning.
Tomorrow night, Utah will welcome former Jazzmen Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer and the rest of the Chicago Bulls to EnergySolutions Arena. Tip-off for the Jazz reunion game is at 7 p.m.
"It's going to be a fun game," said Jazz guard Deron Williams.
Female Jazz fans will surely cheer for Korver, and Brewer will likely garner a respectful response from the Utah crowd. And Boozer? His greeting from Jazz fans will probably rhyme with his name.
"He's going to get booed, but it's going to sound like Booz so ….," said Williams. "I'm sure there's going to be some mixed reactions. Some people love Booz, some people hate him. He did a lot for this franchise, won a lot of games while he was here. He was a great teammate."
Jazz players interviewed this morning spoke respectfully of Boozer, one of the most polarizing players in franchise history. He was never a fan favorite in Utah, mostly because of his perceived inability to play through pain or injuries. Williams said the criticism was unfair.
"He had some injuries while he was here that definitely caused him to miss some games," Williams said. "He always wanted to be out there. He always wanted to play, wanted to be out there with his team. A lot of it (the criticism) was unfair."
The Jazz were shorthanded this morning in preparing to face the Bulls. Players that sat out were Raja Bell (personal reasons), Francisco Elson (left knee inflammation), Paul Millsap (bruised left big toe) and Mehmet Okur (back).
For tomorrow's game, Millsap is probable and Bell is expected to play. Elson will be a game-time decision and Okur is out.
The good injury news for the Jazz is that Andrei Kirilenko's left ankle held up well against the Kings last night and he practiced today. After missing three games with a sprained left ankle, Kirilenko had 10 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots against Sacramento.
"It feels pretty good," Kirilenko said. "I like that feeling."