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The Utah Jazz had just put together their first three-game winning streak of the season when All-Star weekend interrupted.
But as they returned to EnergySolutions Arena this morning to begin the final eight weeks of the season, players said they do not believe the break will harm momentum.
"I hope not," said forward Gordon Hayward, who spent the time off in Arizona with his new fiancée. "Hopefully we can come out and pick up where we left off and keep moving forward."
In the run up to the break, the Jazz beat the Miami Heat, outdueled the Lakers in Los Angeles, and toppled the 76ers.
"We were focused going into the break," said veteran forward Richard Jefferson. "I think that kind of shows how we are as a team and what we want to accomplish. We understand that making the playoffs is probably going to be slim, but we still feel like we can get better as s a team and as individuals. To have a break is good, especially when you have older guys and a lot of younger guys who haven't played this amount of minutes before."
Utah will take on former Jazz players Deron Williams and Andrei Kirilenko tonight with the Brooklyn Nets in town.
Williams said he still feels "weird" coming back to EnergySolutions Arena, three seasons after he was traded for Derrick Favors, Devin Harris and the draft pick that would eventually become Enes Kanter.
The Nets are reportedly in the midst of another change. Jason Terry and Reggie Evans will be traded to the Sacramento Kings in exchange for Marcus Thornton, according to media reports Wednesday.