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Utah Jazz try to put an end to road skid

Published November 9, 2012 12:24 pm

NBA • Utah has 0-3 start away from ESA.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Denver • The sample size is small. In election parlance, only about 5 percent of precincts are reporting.

But in the early season for the Utah Jazz, the divide is clear and the conclusions understandable. The Jazz are 2-0 at home, 0-3 on the road. Therefore, the Jazz are good at home, not on the road. It's rash thinking, but the Jazz know they need a win on the road soon to quiet their detractors.

"I wouldn't say we're a bad road team at all," Marvin Williams said. "We have more than enough to win at home or on the road with our team and our coaching staff."

Fortunately, they'll have plenty of chances.

Starting Friday in Denver (2-3), the Jazz play nine of their next 13 on the road, and are coming off a three-loss swing through New Orleans, San Antonio and Memphis.

"We got to understand that a little more of the sense of urgency from the beginning of the game," coach Tyrone Corbin, "as we did the last road game we had in Memphis — we were leading at halftime — and then make that a 48-minute game."

The Jazz are trying to halt any notion that their road play is simply a continuation of last season, when they were 11-22 away from EnergySolutions Arena.

"We got to get that same confidence on the road that we can beat anybody at any place," forward Paul Millsap said.

Both of the Jazz's home wins — against the Mavericks on Halloween and the Lakers on Wednesday — were emphatic. The Mavs haven't lost since, and the Lakers, despite a stubborn start, are still among the favorites in the Western Conference.

"Yesterday I think we played with a little more urgency," Williams said. "We played with a great sense of urgency, and I think it showed."

Part of that stems from the opponent being the Lakers. Williams said "everybody's a little more jacked up about it" when playing Los Angeles.

After playing Denver, the Jazz return home for a game against Phoenix, before heading back East for four games in Toronto, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington.

So what is it about the Jazz that keeps them from performing on the road? For starters, they have lost to only one team they were favored to beat, the Hornets, and had a shot to win in that game.

Corbin said on the road the Jazz miss the fans and having family around, "all the cookings of being home that help you through the tougher times."

And if Millsap "could pack up the fans and take them with us," he said, "that would be great."

Instead, the Jazz will have to figure this riddle out on their own, and try to prevent their road bug from becoming a full-blown bugaboo.

"It's important to get the first one," Corbin said, "so we can move on from there."

boram@sltrib.com

On the road again

• The Jazz play five of their next six games, and eight of 12, on the road.

• Utah has not won a road game since beating Portland 112-91 on April 18, including two road losses in the playoffs.

• Denver is coming off its own first road win of the season, against Houston on Wednesday. —

Jazz at Nuggets

P At the Pepsi Center (Denver)

Tipoff • Friday, 8:30 p.m.

TV • ESPN

Radio • 1280 AM, 97.5 FM

Records • Jazz 2-3; Nuggets 2-3

Season series • First meeting

About the Jazz • Utah is coming off a 95-86 home victory against the Lakers on Friday night. ... Mo Williams, who leads the Jazz with 19.8 points per game, is a perfect 16 of 16 from the free-throw line. ... Guard Alec Burks played nearby collegiately at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

About the Nuggets • Starting center Kosta Koufos was drafted No. 23 overall by the Jazz in 2008 and spent two years with the team. ... Denver scored a season-high 116 points at Miami on Nov. 3. ... Denver was one of just two NBA teams to start the season with three games on the road. It lost all three.