LOS ANGELES Andrei Kirilenko concedes he is mystified.
"It's one of the toughest buildings for us," he said. "San Antonio is the other one.
"I don't know why we have trouble playing here."
Kirilenko and his Utah Jazz teammates would like one more shot at figuring it out.
As Lakers coach Phil Jackson would put it, the Lakers "held serve" in Staples Center, recording a 111-104 victory Wednesday night. The Western Conference semifinals series returns to Salt Lake City with the Jazz trailing 3-2 in games.
The home team has won every game in the series and a startling 19 of 20 in the second round of the NBA playoffs.
The Jazz will need to solve the road conundrum in Game 7. If they can get there.
"Successful teams, you find a way to win one on the road," Ronnie Brewer said before the game. "We found a way to do it in Houston" in Game 7 last year.
But not, so far, in Staples, where the Jazz is 3-17 all-time.
"We can't beat them in L.A. right now," Kirilenko said.
Matt Harpring said it isn't a matter of not believing.
"We believe we can win here," he said. We were confident coming in. We're just not winning. It's not about confidence. We're just not making enough plays."
Staples Center is not a noisy venue, certainly not by EngerySolutions Arena standards. Fans here aren't angry or abusive, barely managing a quorum to mumble "Utah sucks!" once or twice during Game 5.
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Denzel Washington, Tobey Maguire and Jack Nicholson have been regulars at courtside. Andy Garcia and David Beckham were in the crowd Wednesday night. As was Heather Locklear.
Kirilenko said the Jazzmen don't get caught looking in the stands.
"I'm not star-struck," he said. "I know most of the faces but I don't know all of the names. I'm Russian."
"A crowd is a crowd," Brewer said. "You have to block them out."
Ronnie Price conceded it "was cool" to see Washington at courtside. "All those people from the movies, to see them ... "
Had he talked to them?
"Oh, no," he said. "That's not my business."
He has seen enough, though, to make an observation. "All those people ... they're shorter than you think they are."
Kirilenko suggested the Lakers' glam fans are more than just pretty faces.
"The celebrities can affect the game," he said. "Some of them cheering can spark the home team. The crowd sees the celebrities cheering and it gives them more energy."
Or it could just be that visitors are having trouble winning anywhere, this spring.
"Home court has always been big in this league," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said, "and as teams get more and more, I guess, a little closer to each other (in competence) it makes a bigger difference."
Before the game, the Lakers' Jackson conceded it was a "must win" for the Lakers by using tennis terminology.
"We held serve, they held serve," he said, referring to the first four games. "Now it's up to us."
Now it's up to the Jazz to hold serve, Friday in Salt Lake City, where they are 41-5 this season.
"So far, home advantage has been a big thing," Sloan said. "We have to take advantage that we are home Friday, and then see what happens in a seventh game. We went to Game 7 in Houston last year and got it done."
Harpring is counting on Jazz fans to make sure Game 6 in Salt Lake is a prelude to Game 7 in L.A..
"Hopefully our fans will be nice and obnoxious and ready to get a win," he said.