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Thurl Bailey's latest scoring run only shows how he was missing from the Jazz offense for the season's first month.

In the last five games, Bailey is averaging 18.8 points and, he says, "I'm more into the flow now, trying to be a lot more active." But even in Bailey's five-game awakening, he did not score as much as he did the past two seasons, when he averaged close to 20 points.Entering tonight's game against Charlotte, Bailey has raised his season's totals to 14.9 points and .475 shooting. Before his recent surge, the totals were 13.8 points and .439 from the field.

That start had Bailey on an early course toward his least production since his rookie season, although Coach Jerry Sloan was not concerned. "I said to give him 20 games and see where he is," Sloan noted. "Some years, it took me 20 games to find the basket, let alone score one."

Bailey has lost a few playing minutes to rookie Blue Edwards, although he's recovering those now that Edwards is sometimes playing guard. John Stockton is also more assertive on offense and the Jazz still look to Karl Malone on almost every trip, but Bailey says he was never shut out of the offense.

"That hasn't changed," he noted. "Even when I was missing (shots), I was getting the ball."

Physically drained at the end of last season when his body-fat ratio became microscopic, Bailey expected a better start. He joined the Jazz's rookies and free agents in a three-day session before training camp opened and awaited the season confidently.

But after a 23-point Opening Night, he struggled. "Maybe for a little while, I was panicking," Bailey said. (Sloan) told me I wasn't really used to what was happening to me. I have to just relax and play."