For the first time since the floor was renamed in honor of their late owner, the Jazz stepped onto the Larry H. Miller Court at EnergySolutions Arena for Friday night's Game 3 against the Nuggets.
"I think it's terrific," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "This franchise wouldn't be here if it hadn't been for him, in my opinion. I was here just about the time he bought it. I think it's been great for this community."
The Jazz paid tribute to Miller as part of their April 14 regular-season finale against Phoenix and announced that they had received special permission from the league to rename the court after Miller -- a first for an NBA team.
Sloan suggested that the arena someday should bear Miller's name as well. "When you think about this building, what all he did to put it together and the work that he did, it was pretty difficult at the time," Sloan said.
Andrei Kirilenko continues to make progress with his strained left calf and plans to do swimming rehab today and possibly some court work Sunday or Monday. As for potentially returning this series, Kirilenko is optimistic but also realistic.
"It's a good goal, so don't force it," Kirilenko said, adding, "I'm excited, but [trainer] Gary [ Briggs ] stopped me a little bit like, 'Hey, you remember the history, so just be careful.' "
Kirilenko three times has tried to return from his strained calf, only to reinjure it all over again. He had blood drained from it and underwent plasma-rich platelet therapy Monday and came away feeling as if he had found answers for what was wrong.
Kirilenko has not ruled out the possibility of playing in either Game 6 or Game 7 should the series extend that far.
Fine and dandy
Sloan took no issue with the NBA increasingly fining players and coaches for criticizing referees, as well as commissioner David Stern 's tough talk on the subject. Stern said Thursday: "[I]f someone wants to try me in the rest of the playoffs, make my day."
"Whatever the rules are, I think we all have to adjust to them," Sloan said. "Sometimes a lot of people think that the rules aren't made for them."
The Jazz welcomed the possibility that the Nuggets would look to aggressively trap Deron Williams in Game 3 in an attempt to force Williams to give up the ball.
"When we played against them whenever John [ Stockton ] was here, we got a lot of layups off of it," Sloan said, "because if our big guys can recognize what's going on, they're giving up something."
"I'm just going to look to keep attacking in transition before they can set up, before they can double me," Williams said.
"We can always run plays that aren't pick-and-rolls, and I have no problem playing off the ball."
After going 3-for-12 in Games 1 and 2, Wesley Matthews sounded as if he'd found some answers with his shooting: "I think I'm guiding it a little too much rather than just letting it go, but it's a new day, it's a new game, and that's the beautiful thing about this sport." ... The Jazz hung a 10-foot banner for fans to sign for Mehmet Okur , who is recovering from surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles' tendon and is out for the playoffs. ... Illinois coach Bruce Weber will be Williams' guest for Sunday's Game 4.