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News » Jazz's convincing win lightens the mood


Jazz's convincing win lightens the mood


Jazz's convincing win lightens the mood The clouds lifted and the mood lightened at Jazz practice Friday morning, only hours after Utah exorcised the demons of a glacially slow start to the season with a 113-99 victory over San Antonio.

Doing drills against some less-than-intense defense by special assistant Jeff Hornacek, Kyrylo Fesenko drove to the basket and watched a layup dribble off the rim.

Fesenko threw up his hands and turned to Hornacek, who is 23 years older, eight inches shorter and 100 pounds lighter than the Jazz's backup center.

"You pulled me," Fesenko said.

Hornacek laughed and replied, "Are you serious?"

On the other side of the gym, Andrei Kirilenko smiled about the day ahead.

After practice, Kirilenko, his wife and their two sons planned to pick up a newly adopted daughter and take her home -- permanently.

"We are all very happy and excited," Kirilenko said.

It's funny what a virtuoso performance against a championship-caliber team like San Antonio can do for a previously grim-faced group of players who had lost three of their first four games.

As Carlos Boozer said after Utah's victory over the Spurs, who never got closer than eight points in the second half, "Man, it's just fun to win."

How important was winning in the second week of the NBA's 82-game regular season?

"It was a game I think our players needed -- to get their daubers up a little bit," coach Jerry Sloan. "They had their daubers down a little bit."

He continued: "It was a good game because we were able to come out and have some success. But you have success because you work hard. That's how I look at it. Everybody got on the same page and that gives you a chance every night."

Asked if the victory could be a launching pad for future success, Boozer nodded and said, "Absolutely. It's something we need to learn from and take everywhere we play."

The Jazz's chance to string together wins for the first time this season comes Saturday night against Sacramento at EnergySolutions Arena.

"We'll see how we bounce back," said Deron Williams. "We can't just get hung up on this one and overlook Sacramento. ... So that's the plan right now."

Williams flirted with a triple-double against San Antonio. He finished with 27 points, nine assists and seven rebounds.

Boozer had a big game, too. He contributed 27 points, 14 rebounds and two blocked shots.

Is there a pattern here?

In the Jazz's two wins, Boozer averages 23.5 points and 13 rebounds. In their three defeats, he averages 11 points and six rebounds while shooting 12-for-33 from the field.

"I think when I play well our team plays better," Boozer said. "... We all try to play well but when [certain] guys do, there's a trickle-down effect -- definitely."

When Boozer plays well, Williams said, "It opens up doors for everybody. We're going to need him to play like that -- signs of his old self. Hopefully, he can keep that up."

Sloan understands what Boozer has been experiencing.

"When you play this game for 15 or 16 years, there's going to be a time when you don't know what's going on," Sloan said. "... Guys have to work it out."

Sloan credited Boozer for getting himself through a rugged two weeks.

"I've seen guys who are great shooters go through stretches where they can't make a basket," he said. "... They just have to work themselves out of it. If they hang their head and feel bad and think they aren't getting a fair shake, then they probably aren't going to get out of it."

luhm@sltrib.com Carlos Boozer's game-by-game statistics


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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 9, 2009

 

 
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