Jazz's streak has been one-sided

How one-sided have the Jazz's recent victories over Chicago, Portland and Memphis been? Not only have they won by an average of 20.7 points, but in 144 minutes of Basketball, the Jazz have trailed for all of 44 seconds.

The Jazz were able to enjoy their run of success with Tuesday off, but coach Jerry Sloan still has concerns, even with his 10-7 team having won six of its last seven games and moving three games above .500.

Asked specifically about his concerns after Monday's victory over the Grizzlies, Sloan quickly answered, "Because we've played against teams that haven't had a full complement of players."

"I'm worried about what we're doing every time," Sloan continued, "because I have confidence in us that we can be a very good Basketball team if we can continue to play together and try to help each other defensively."

There have been some qualifiers to the Jazz's winning streak. Both Memphis (Rudy Gay, Mike Conley) and Chicago (Tyrus Thomas, Kirk Hinrich) were missing key players. The Grizzlies and Trail Blazers also were playing the second game in back-to-back sets.

That said, the Jazz have had just nine players in uniform for seven of their last nine games. Deron Williams, Mehmet Okur and Andrei Kirilenko all have missed games in the first month while C.J. Miles and Kyle Korver have not played this season.

The Jazz have taken full advantage of a two-week homestand, which they can close 5-1 with a victory Friday against Indiana. Williams talked about the good fortune of having a chance to rest, not play back-to-backs and be home for Thanksgiving.

"We're having fun," Williams said. "That's the main thing. The game we didn't have fun was the game we lost to Oklahoma City. We've just got to keep going out there and having fun, playing together, sharing the Basketball. It's fun to play that way."

At the same time, the Jazz are well aware of the schedule that awaits next week after traveling Saturday to Minnesota, with games against San Antonio, the Lakers, Orlando and the Lakers again in a six-day span.

"That's a big stretch for us, those next four games after that," Williams said.

After rookies Wesley Matthews and Eric Maynor provided a boost with the Jazz shorthanded at the end of their Eastern Conference trip, Carlos Boozer was a force to finish November, scoring 20 points or more in the last five games.

Boozer has averaged 25.2 points, 9.8 rebounds and 5.4 assists in that time while hitting 49 of 70 shots, an astounding 70 percent.

"He's playing great on both ends of the floor right now," Williams said. "That's what we've been looking for, what we needed, what we've been missing the last couple years. When he does that, he makes us a lot better."

"I'm proud of him because he came in and said that's what he was going to do," Sloan added. "That's all you ask. All the other crap that you've got to deal with in this business, you've got to throw it out the window, because it doesn't matter unless you play well."

The Jazz shot better than 60 percent against Chicago and Portland and nearly did so for a third consecutive game Monday. They've averaged 31 assists a game during their current winning streak.

"We're just doing a good job of connecting out there and seeing what's open and taking advantage of what the defense gives us," Boozer said.

The biggest issue facing the Jazz might be how to reintegrate Miles, who is expected to go through a full practice today for the first time since suffering a ruptured ligament in his left thumb in the preseason and undergoing surgery.

Miles is planning to return Friday. Although his minutes likely will be limited at first, the Jazz have to decide about starting Miles -- who appeared poised for a breakthrough season before his injury -- or keeping Matthews in the role.

The Jazz have gone 7-2 with the undrafted rookie from Marquette starting. Sloan is a believer, however, that no player should lose his role on account of injury alone, and Miles was a projected starter this season.

rsiler@sltrib.com Three to remember

A look at the Jazz's victories over Chicago, Portland and Memphis during their current three-game winning streak:


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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 2, 2009