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News » Jazz begin quest to improve on the road


Jazz begin quest to improve on the road


Jazz begin quest to improve on the road The Jazz know it.

Now, they have to do something about it.

If Utah wants to consider itself one of the elite teams in the Western Conference, the Jazz must find a way to win consistently on the road.

As the visitor last season, Utah finished 17-24.

It was the Jazz's eighth straight year with a losing record on the road, and some of the defeats were as ugly as the supporting cast of "Zombieland."

? At Dallas, the Jazz lost, 130-101.

? In two defeats at Portland, Utah allowed an average of 123.5 points per game.

? The Jazz lost twice in San Antonio by a total of 31 points.

? In three road losses to the L.A. Lakers in the first round of the playoffs, Utah allowed 107, 113 and 119 points.

You get the idea.

So does Carlos Boozer.

"We're a very good home team," he said Friday. "We've been that for a long time. We have great fans here and we have a great arena and we win a lot of games here at home.

"But for this team to take the next step, we have to win on the road. We have to be good consistently, wherever we play -- not just at home."

The Jazz play their first game on the home floor of an NBA opponent Saturday in Los Angeles against the Clippers.

Utah is 3-1 in the preseason, following a 99-96 win over Portland on Thursday night at EnergySolutions Arena.

The Jazz need only one victory in the final four exhibition games to clinch at least a .500 record in the preseason for the 17th time in the last 18 years.

More importantly, Utah must continue to fine-tune what Boozer calls a renewed commitment to defense that is imperative if the Jazz hope to become road warriors.

"Our improved defense will be the key, as we've been talking about all along," Boozer said.

"Listen, you aren't going to make shots every night. We know we are a very good offensive team, but sometimes the ball just doesn't go in."

On those nights, good teams win by stopping its opponents.

"That's what championship teams do," Boozer said. "You look at the Lakers. They came here and beat us [in the playoffs]. You look at Boston. They've been beating teams on the road the last couple of years. You look at San Antonio ... Championship teams are good on defense everywhere they play. That's the reason they win."

Boozer doesn't have to convince coach Jerry Sloan, who watched his teams go 26-15 on the road in both 1997 and 1998. That's when Utah made its only two trips to the NBA Finals.

"... You have to understand that everybody runs better at home than they do on the road," Sloan said. "Teams like to get in the open court and score easy baskets. So you have to execute better on offense and you have to play good defense on the road."

In the Jazz's win over Portland, they outscored the Blazers in the first quarter, 25-13. But they also gave up 58 points in the second half.

"I still see some of the same mistakes," Sloan said. "You look at the tape and we had a good first quarter. Everybody was alive. But we can't afford to play as lethargic as we did later on because that's where you lose games when you're on the road."

luhm@sltrib.com Out of their comfort zone

The Jazz's home vs. road records the last five seasons:


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 17, 2009

 

 
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