Jazz Notes: Kirilenko could sit against Bobcats
Andrei Kirilenko didn't score a point Monday night, but that's not the statistic the Jazz were concerned about a day later. No, the numbers they are acutely aware of are: 2-8.
That's the Jazz record this season when Kirilenko doesn't play, a prospect the team doesn't want to confront again.
Kirilenko did not practice Tuesday after experiencing pain in his lower back during Monday's victory over the Warriors, and while he apparently felt better, his status for tonight's game against Charlotte is uncertain.
Kirilenko left Monday's game after playing only eight scoreless first-half minutes, similar to his early exit with back spasms in Milwaukee last December. In that instance, the Jazz's starting forward didn't play again until nine days later, even leaving the team to see a specialist, and Utah slumped to three straight ugly losses without him.
The Jazz will re-evaluate Kirilenko's condition at this morning's shootaround, but no decision on his availability is expected until just before the 7 p.m. tipoff with the Bobcats.
By the way, the last time Kirilenko was shut out in a game? Uh-oh: It was Nov. 27, 2004, the night he injured his knee in San Antonio.
Meanwhile, guard Milt Palacio was also held out of practice Tuesday because of a strained right hip. He intends to play against the Hornets, however.
Put the Jazz 24 feet from the basket, with defenders running at them? No problem, at least not on Monday. Utah converted a season-high nine of 13 three-pointers at Golden State, a 69.2 percent success rate that is topped only by their 7-of-10 showing against Dallas on opening night.
But stand a Jazz player 15 feet from the basket, with nobody to bother him? That's apparently quite a bit more difficult.
The Jazz missed 16 free throws in Oakland, 10 of them after halftime. That's the second-most misses all season, with only a 23-for-40 performance uglier than Monday's 26-for-42.
The reason? "I think it's mostly in their head," said Jazz coach Jerry Sloan.
That's "heads," actually, because it's not just one guy. Of the eight Jazz players to stand at the line, only Milt Palacio (2-for-2) made every one. Matt Harpring, normally a 74.4 percent shooter, missed five of his 12.
The Jazz's .731 percentage ranks 22nd in the league, and is the franchise's worst since 1986-87.
"If they want to improve it, they can concentrate on it and make themselves better," Sloan said. "If a player puts it in his mind that he's going to improve, he usually improves. What it boils down to, if you have good technique, is concentration."
The Jazz were whistled for 11 offensive fouls on Monday, a season-high that included three on consecutive possessions in the first quarter. Golden State committed five. . . . The offensive fouls helped contribute to four Jazz players fouling out, the first time that has happened since April 9, 1990, when Thurl Bailey, John Stockton, Bobby Hansen and Nate Johnson were disqualified from an overtime loss in Phoenix. . . . Friday's tipoff against the Clippers has been moved back an hour so ESPN can televise it nationally. The Delta Center game will begin at 8 p.m., and will still be carried by FSN Utah.
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