Utah (25-18) seeks its eighth straight win at EnergySolutions Arena on Saturday against the Cavaliers (33-8), who hope to end their four-game Western road trip with three consecutive victories.
Kirilenko left Utah’s previous home game, a 112-107 win Tuesday over Minnesota, with a sore right ankle and sat out a 108-99 loss the next night at Houston.
“It’s a day-by-day improvement,” he said Friday. “It feels better right now, but we will see how it feels tomorrow.”
No one on Utah’s roster has appeared in every game this season, and Jazz players have already missed a combined 118 games this season because of injuries, illness or personal reasons after sitting out 45 last season.
Boozer, the team’s leading scorer and rebounder the past three seasons, hasn’t played since Nov. 19 and is expected to miss at least two more weeks following his Jan. 9 surgery.
Despite an ever-shifting rotation, the Jazz’s record has stayed on the winning side thanks to their play at home and contributions from players like Paul Millsap.
Starting in place of Boozer, Millsap has averaged 17.9 points and 11.3 rebounds in the last 24 games, despite missing six contests with his own knee problems.
Millsap has scored at least 20 points in the past two games and, with consecutive double-doubles, has added to his career-best 21 this season. Deron Williams has also averaged 25.7 points over the last six games and scored a season-high 32 in Wednesday’s loss.
While Cleveland has forged a 20-0 record at home, the road hasn’t proved as kind to the Cavaliers of late.
Despite getting a LeBron James buzzer-beater and a 106-105 win Friday at Golden State, Cleveland has gone 3-4 in its last seven away from home but is 2-1 on its four-game trek thanks to James’ heroics.
“It’s a great feeling, especially when you get it like that and then you hear the horn and the shot goes in and there’s no way they can try to make a comeback at us,” he said. “I wish everyone could get that type of feeling. It’s unbelievable.”
However, the Cavaliers, who have a 13-8 road record, have dropped two straight in Salt Lake City and are 3-14 there since 1991-92.
While Cleveland has struggled in Utah, James hasn’t. The Cavaliers star has averaged 32.4 points in five games at EnergySolutions Arena, including a 51-point performance on Jan. 21, 2006.
James has scored 30.8 points per game in 11 overall meetings with the Jazz and has tallied at least 38 in the past two, including a 105-93 home win on Nov. 15. In his previous trip to Utah - a 103-101 loss on Nov. 7, 2007, he had one of his 19 career triple-doubles with 32 points, 15 rebounds and 13 assists.
James nearly had another Friday with 32 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, and will look for three straight 30-point performances for the second time this season after scoring 34 on Wednesday against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Cleveland has won two straight over Utah and nine of the last 12 meetings.