THE UTAH JAZZ'S Great Home Swoon, it seems to be turning out, was short-lived. Already, the Jazz are on a two-game Delta Center winning streak that could soon turn into three tonight when Denver, not so fresh from a game last night at Golden State, will be the opponent. A win against the Nuggets would push the home record to 4-4, not exactly up to last season's inaugural 37-4 mark, but nowhere near the 18-23 home record in 1981-82, either.

It was during that 1982 season that the Jazz, in the midst of their franchise-record 18-game losing streak (from Feb. 24, 1982 to April 2, 1982 if you're keeping score; the Jazz went 0 for March), dropped 12 in a row at home. It was not the best of times. The 12,500 seats in the Salt Palace were about 8,000 too many. Even the Lakers, who came to Salt Lake when the overall streak was at 11 and the home streak at four, didn't sell out.Those were the bad old days. The problems at the start of this season - losing four of the first five at home to teams (the Suns, Warriors, Spurs and Nets) that hadn't won in Salt Lake during the Bush Administration - don't come close to as bad as it's been or as bad as it could get. Even the end of the Jazz's nearly five-year sellout streak this past Tuesday against Dallas was more of a fluke than a sign of an impending basketball depression. It's true, the Jazz came up 459 fans short of their 207th straight sellout. But it was on a night when A) The worst team in the NBA was in town, B) BYU was opening the college season in Provo, C) Utah was doing likewise at the Huntsman Center, and D) So was Weber State in Ogden. None of the colleges sold out, either, or came even close to within 459 seats of capacity. Utah has a high per capita percentage of basketball followers, but Tuesday night tested its limits.

When the Minnesota Timberwolves visited Salt Lake Thursday night a new Delta Center sellout streak began even though the Utes were again playing on the same night.

Business was back to normal on the court as well. The Timberwolves shot a miserable 43 percent from the field. They were down by 20 points at halftime and bickering among themselves. After it was over and they were back in street clothes, they came out of their locker room looking like they'd just been clobbered by a board. Head coach Jimmy Rodgers was muttering about "finding people who want to play." Ah, life as Larry Miller once knew it.

"This whole experience," said Miller just before Thursday's game began, "has taught me one thing: To not take anything for granted. When you're winning, enjoy it."

"Karl (Malone) and John (Stockton) aren't going to be around forever," said the Jazz owner. "I'm going to enjoy every minute they're here."

Thursday night that included a lot of minutes that both Stockton and Malone spent on the bench. So thorough was the Jazz's beating that both All-Stars sat out the entire fourth quarter and much of the third quarter as well. In the meantime, the Jazz's two Draft Day transfers, Larry Krystkowiak and Jay Humphries of the Milwaukee Bucks, got a chance to get better acquainted with the Delta Center floor. Humphries scored 15 points and Krystkowiak scored 13 - both season, not to mention Salt Lake City, highs.

Such productivity did not displease Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, who has had a tough early-season job trying to steer the Jazz's modified bus. Not only did Krystkowiak and Humphries replace Blue Edwards and Delaney Rudd, but veteran center Mark Eaton's knee surgery also altered the team's long-time chemistry.

"We've had to go through some things," said Sloan. "Things I don't think anyone realizes but us. I don't know how long we've gone without an injury. Then Mark's out and we have to adjust and sometimes that kind of a situation, where you start changing another guy's minutes and his role, even if it's just a minute or two, it can make a difference."

"It all takes time," said Sloan. "And then we were supposed to win 41 games in this building this year. Those were the expectations, and that was tougher on the two new guys than anybody. The fact that we lost a couple - and I don't mean to say that helped - but they're playing more relaxed now."

Whether a new breed of Jazz is indeed just now getting used to the Delta Center remains to be seen. But the Timberwolves would no doubt vote in the affirmative after suffering through the ignominy of playing an entire fourth quarter Thursday night against zero Jazz starters.

"I haven't sat that long in eight years," said Karl Malone Thursday night, holding back a smile.

It's always something.