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Utah Jazz get in a practice before flying to California

OAKLAND, Calif. — A somewhat grumpy group of Jazz practiced Thursday morning in New Orleans before flying west to California, where tonight Utah visits Golden State.

It's quite unusual for the team to practice after playing on back-to-back nights — especially following two wins — but Jazz coach Jerry Sloan felt inclined to do so anyway.

Sloan's club has won five in a row on the road and, in the midst of a four-game trip, is now 12-12 this season away from home.

But they haven't won six straight on the road since the 2001-02 season, and he wants the Jazz's current success to continue.

"I look back when we lost some games on the road," he said, "and I just thought we'd get them up and loosen then up and try to stay involved in basketball.

"Because, you know, in my opinion we have a lot at stake, to try to win games on the road. We don't have anything done. You get out and lose two or three games, and you're in the hole again. Hopefully winning is the most important thing on the agenda."

The practice wasn't only called because the Jazz happened to spend the night in New Orleans, where they beat the Hornets on Wednesday, one night after winning at Houston in their first outing following the NBA All-Star Game break.

"I would have done it anywhere," said Sloan, adding "this team has practiced less than any team I've ever coached."

Sloan said some Jazz players were looking in the morning like "someone had thrown up in their cereal" because they had to get up and practice.

At least some of those who did work out, though, suggested they didn't have a problem with it.

"I understand," said forward Andrei Kirilenko, who was celebrating his 29th birthday.

"We have to get up and do something. You don't want to lay down all day and just chill. ... You have to get your blood pumping."

"We just came here to stretch, wake up, shake off the Nola food," Carlos Boozer Boozer added. "It's good, good to wake up."

e-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com