JAZZ NOTES: Kirilenko doesn't back up remarks
HOUSTON - Andrei Kirilenko isn't going to have much of an argument, if he keeps this up.
One day after tearily complaining about his minimal role in the Jazz's loss to the Houston Rockets in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series, the former All-Star forward did little to justify his desire in a 98-90 loss in Game 2 at the Toyota Center on Monday night.
"I didn't do the job," he acknowledged.
Not even close.
Kirilenko did not score in 17 minutes - he seemed to force all three of his shots - and managed three rebounds and two blocks while committing five fouls and two turnovers. All that, hours after returning to his usual bright-eyed and smiling self at the pregame shootaround and essentially apologizing for causing a distraction with his emotional meltdown after practice Sunday.
He made statements that "I don't think I should have made," Kirilenko said. "I don't think it's good for the team."
But when he was back on the court, nothing seemed to change.
Kirilenko could not seem to find a rhythm in the offense, and seldom seemed to have much effect on defense. He did have a couple of bad bounces deny him opportunities to make a few more plays, but the end result was still disappointing.
"It's frustrating to lose a game," he said. "I think that's the most important thing. I think I didn't do my job. I didn't help the team."
What has happened?
"I don't know," he said. "I don't know. It's just tough to explain. I just . . . I don't want to talk about it."
Coach Jerry Sloan and Kirilenko both said they did not speak to each other much about the incident, and Sloan still started Kirilenko in his usual place in Game 2 - though he acknowledged that "I probably haven't gotten him in a position where he's as comfortable as he would like to be."
Many of his teammates offered Kirilenko words of encouragement.
"Sometimes, you have to get some things out," Boozer said. "He got what he had to get out, and now he's ready to move forward and he's ready to play. I went up to him on the bus and told him, 'Look, man, you're our X-factor. We need you. We need you more than anybody.' He basically said thank you. I told him I loved him . . . we just basically pumped him up and told him that, 'This team can be great with you.' "
Asked if the Jazz can beat the Rockets without a greater contribution from Kirilenko, Boozer hesitated a moment.
"I don't think so," he said.