The Utah Jazz have had little trouble beating the Sacramento Kings in 2008-09, but Saturday's meeting may be one of their most emotionally difficult games of the season.
On the same day of late owner Larry Miller's funeral service at EnergySolutions Arena, the surging Jazz look to extend their winning streak to seven games and sweep the season series from the Kings for the first time in a dozen years.
After dealing with injuries over the first few months of the season, Utah (35-23) is finally getting healthy and is in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race.
In his second game back after missing the previous 44 with a knee injury, Carlos Boozer had 12 points on 6-for-10 shooting in 21 minutes of Wednesday's 120-103 win over Minnesota.
The Jazz have won six straight games and nine of their last 10, but the real test comes in March, when eight of their first 12 games will be away from home.
"The biggest thing is we won on the road," Boozer said after Wednesday's victory in Minnesota. "We can take that home, get ready for honoring Larry this weekend, which will be the most important thing we do."
The 64-year-old Miller died of complications from diabetes in Salt Lake City on Feb. 20. The Jazz honored him with a moment of silence before last Saturday's 102-88 win over New Orleans, and a public viewing and funeral service will take place at EnergySolutions Arena before this game.
Since Miller became the full owner in 1986, Utah made 20 playoff appearances, with six Western Conference finals berths and two trips to the finals.
Thanks to their longest winning streak of the season, the Jazz are in position for another trip to the playoffs.
Utah is tied with Dallas for seventh in the West, just 2 1/2 games back of fourth-place Houston. The Jazz are also 3 1/2 games behind Denver for the Northwest Division lead.
"Teams in front of us have been losing so we need to get these games," said point guard Deron Williams, who is averaging 25.1 points and 10.3 assists in his last 10 contest.
Utah is averaging 108.3 points on 50.1 percent shooting during its winning streak, and is 26-4 when scoring at least 101 points compared with a 9-19 mark when scoring 100 or fewer. Utah has averaged 110.0 points in its three wins over the Kings -- the league's second-worst defensive team (108.4 ppg) -- in 2008-09.
The Jazz, who are expected to have Boozer, Williams and Mehmet Okur in the lineup at the same time for just the third time this season Saturday, have not swept a season series from Sacramento since winning all four meetings in 1996-97.
The Kings (13-47), owners of the league's worst record, beat the Los Angeles Clippers 98-86 at home Friday for just their third win in 20 games.
"I have been around enough losses (this year), but I definitely told the guys when we came in here that we have to take advantage of these wins," said Rashad McCants, who had 12 points in his third game with the Kings after being traded by Minnesota last week. "We can't come in here and act like we lost another game. We need to cherish the win and hopefully we will go to Utah and get another one."
Sacramento has not won consecutive games since winning three in a row Nov. 5-9, and has dropped 22 of its last 24 road contests.
Trying to shake the road woes in Utah won't be easy. The Jazz have won eight straight at EnergySolutions Arena, and own the league's fifth-best home record (25-6).