What papers in the Salt Lake City area are saying about the series:
DIRK ROSETTA, SALT LAKE CITY TRIBUNE
This is no elbow talk, L.A., or kick talk. Or throat-slashing-gesture talk. Just your basic, read-the-lips, A-B-C playoff kind of talk. You have to win four of the next five games against the best team in pro basketball to make the NBA finals.
And the way the Lakers wilted down the stretch Monday night against the Jazz, there will be a good deal of introspection from now until Game 3 Friday night at the Great Western Forum about the mettle of the Showtime Gang.
It was quite obvious, from the way Utah outscored the youngsters from the beach, 40-28, over the final 15 1/2 minutes, that the gauntlet has been thrown down by the veterans of this pairing to the not-quite-ready-for-prime-time rap group.
And if the rip-snorting Jazz finish wasn't ample validation, the vulgar-laced, postgame tirade unleashed by the Lakers' Shaquille O'Neal toward referee Steve Javie was the exclamation point.
Grow up, Shaq, and learn to shoot something besides dunk shots. And when you dare to be mean, bring something besides your mouth.
The Lakers still have a lot of climbing to do up the maturity ladder. True to their post-Game 1 boasting--you know, that 112-77 humiliation the Jazz wrapped them in Saturday on national TV?--L.A. came out to lay the two-by-four equipment over Utah's back. The Lakers brought no more than a flimsy twig. Oh, they used up 34 fouls in attempting to pole-axe the Jazz, but--you may have guessed it--Utah won by four free throws.
These wet-behind-the ears Lakers, the ones whose starters bring 20 years of experience to the table compared with the Jazz's 43, just don't get it.