They have lost six of their last 10 games and five straight on the road. But Jazz coach Jerry Sloan likes something he's been seeing lately in his team: enthusiasm.

"I told them the last couple of games we've started to put ourselves back together a little," said Sloan.Sloan liked the way the Jazz built a 20-point lead on Chicago and the way they overcame a 19-point deficit against the Lakers. Neverthless, both were losses. But he was equally encouraged by Saturday morning's practice session. The team went through two rousing quarters of scrimmaging that included woofing, shoving, profanity and outright anger. The kind of emotion Sloan didn't see enough of in January.

"I enjoyed this," said Sloan.

The Jazz will practice briefly Sunday, before hosting Orlando Monday night.

Sloan broke tradition Thursday night against the Lakers when he substituted rookie Stephen Howard into the lineup instead of second-year man David Benoit in the early fourth quarter.

The coach said afterward that he needs to get some playing time for his rookies. However, he admits the decision was also in part due to Benoit's slump.

"These (rookies) need to play some. Especially when we're struggling I should probably try to get them in more," said Sloan. "I guess I'll just have to start making some changes."

Asked if those changes will include changing his rotation - such as bringing Howard off the bench ahead of Benoit - Sloan said no. But he did say his substitution patterns will probably reflect how well the players are doing.

ODDS AND ENDS: Center Mark Eaton's minutes continue to climb. His 26 minutes against the Lakers was a season-high. While he continues to watch practices from the sidelines, the leg apparently isn't as sore after games as before. Sloan said he'd like to see Eaton get back to where he could play around 30 minutes a night . . . Guard Jeff Malone missed Saturday's practice due to flu symptoms. Sloan said he expects Malone back for Sunday's practice, or at least by Monday night's game.