Is that all that Jazz can muster?

Times Staff Writer

When do the playoffs start?

Oh, this is them?

Utah's bus hasn't caught on fire yet and none of the Jazz players has said the players and coaches have quit. Aside from that, their first two games against the Lakers haven't gone much better than those of the Denver Nuggets.

Once again, the Jazz got behind early -- 15 points after trailing by 17 in Game 1 -- and once again, it was too much to make up in a 120-110 loss to the Lakers, who are now 6-0 this postseason and 2-0 in this second-round series.

Generally favored to come out of the West but considered something less than a great team, the Lakers are averaging 115 points this postseason, winning their games by an average of 12 points.

Generally considered an up-and-coming team, the Jazz picked a bad time to misplace its leading scorer, Carlos Boozer, whose postseason struggles continued with a 10-point game in which he missed seven of 10 shots.

Or maybe it's just a bad time to catch the Lakers, who went 22-5 with Pau Gasol in the lineup during the season and are now up to 27-5 with him.

Not to mention getting here just in time to see Kobe Bryant get his most-valuable-player trophy.

Said Utah Coach Jerry Sloan before the game, embracing the challenge:

"Can't worry about having to play against him. If you like to play, that's who you like to play against.

"And if you don't like to play, you're probably going to get embarrassed a little bit."

With Deron Williams leading a late charge, scoring 22 of his 25 points in the second half, the Jazz avoided outright embarrassment, but not the loss.

Of course, the series now moves to Salt Lake City, where the Jazz went 37-4 this season. At this point, the Jazz needs all the help it can get.


For The Record Los Angeles Times Friday, May 09, 2008 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 62 words Type of Material: Correction Lakers: In Thursday's Sports section, a photograph showing the Lakers' Derek Fisher shooting a three-point shot identified the player behind Fisher as Vladimir Radmanovic. The player behind Fisher was Sasha Vujacic. And Mark Heisler, in his commentary, said the Lakers were 22-5 with Pau Gasol during the regular season and are now 27-5 with him. The Lakers are now 28-5 with Gasol.
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