This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated.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.
Protecting home court just five games into a 66-contest season would normally be an overstatement. But with the Jazz playing 12 of 15 games at EnergySolutions Arena during January and a rebuilding team starting its 2011-12 campaign 0-3 on the road, Utah is already staring at near must-wins in Salt Lake City.
February and March have the potential to be brutal for the Jazz: Utah plays 21 of 34 games away from home, and a young squad will likely feel the weight of a compressed schedule caused by the NBA lockout.
Thus, every game at ESA during January has even more importance than normal.
"We do have an opportunity to take advantage of a lot of home games in a row," said Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin, prior to a 94-40 home win Monday against New Orleans. "But at some point it's going to flip and we've got to get back out there on the road."
NBA Hall of Fame guard John Stockton is ranked so high in so many Jazz statistical categories that few players ever get the chance to pass him.
Paul Millsap is getting close.
He grabbed two offensive rebounds against the Hornets, giving him 965 in his career. Millsap is ninth on the Jazz's all-time list, two behind Stockton's 966.
What makes Millsap so effective?
"His awareness of where the shot is coming from [and] his early preparation," Corbin said.
Pay to play
Jazz forward Josh Howard was fined $25,000 for an upgraded flagrant foul two, the NBA announced Monday.
Howard was initially called for a flagrant one against San Antonio's James Anderson during the third quarter of the Jazz's 104-89 road loss Saturday.
Corbin said the NBA's reversal was "unfortunate." He thought Howard made a good basketball play.
"It's the NBA's call," Howard said. "It's behind me, and I've got to move on to the next game."
Rookie guard Alec Burks played nearly 11 minutes during the first half, recording five points and three rebounds.
"The game's slowing down for me and I'm just going. … Hard work pays off," Burks said.