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JERRY CROWE

Text messages from press row . . .

May 10, 2008|JERRY CROWE

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Laker from Spain complained in vain. . . .

Pau Gasol wore the frustrated face of the Lakers on Friday night, bellyaching and gesturing and all but taking a siesta against the Utah Jazz as the Lakers lost their playoff mojo amid the din of the NBA's most cacophonous barn. . . .

Said Phil Jackson, "This is a game in which Pau was looking at the referees every time he got stripped there in the first half, feeling he got fouled." . . .

The more Gasol looked, the more he was ignored. . . .

The EnergySolutions Arena, by the way, might be the best place in the NBA to watch a game, its steeply rising rows of seats climbing dramatically so that even fans seated near the top of the lower bowl are not far from the court. . . .

Fans seemingly are right on top of the action, which is also one of the reasons it's such a difficult place for visiting teams to play, of course. . . .

One sign: "One Team. One Dream. One Crowd. Get Loud." . . .

Mission accomplished. . . .

Carlos Boozer, in a powerful Game 3 performance, showed for the first time in the series why Kobe Bryant once urged the Lakers to trade for him. . . .

Said Bryant, "We expected him to have a monster performance." . . .

Not Friday, maybe, but eventually. . . .

If it was deplorable when Jazz fans booed Derek Fisher when he returned to Salt Lake City with the Lakers in November, it was more understandable Friday. . . .

They booed every Laker. . . .

That early 11-3 Lakers lead sure evaporated quickly. . . .

Fisher's early foul trouble didn't help because backup Jordan Farmar wasn't ready to play and never found a rhythm in 16 scoreless minutes. . . .

Headline on the cover of Salt Lake magazine, below a photo of Boozer and point guard Deron Williams: "Why Utah Loves the Jazz (Again)." . . .

Uh, because they're winning? . . .

Andrei Kirilenko seems to float through long stretches of games, but the Russian produces more than his share of highlight-reel moments. . . .

Kirilenko, who wears No. 47, naturally is nicknamed AK-47. . . .

At halftime of Game 2 on Wednesday, TNT's Charles Barkley said of the Jazz, "They don't think they can beat the Lakers. To win a series, you've got to actually believe, 'We can beat this team.' I just don't see that from the Jazz." . . .

You saw it Friday. . . .

USC fans might wonder, if former UCLA quarterback Troy Aikman was voted into the College Football Hall of Fame, why not Rodney Peete? . . .

Aikman was the better pro, winning three Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys, but Peete was 2-0 against him in college, twice led USC to the Rose Bowl and was runner-up to Barry Sanders in voting for the 1988 Heisman Trophy. . . .

Aikman was third. . . .

Candace Parker begged out of the Sparks' exhibition Thursday night at Chicago, opting instead to attend commencement ceremonies at the University of Tennessee, but the rookie is expected to rejoin her teammates in time for Sunday's exhibition against the Minnesota Lynx at Grand Forks, N.D. . . .

Donald Trump: You're tired! . . .

Unbeaten boxer Timothy Bradley of Palm Springs has flown to work for the first time, making the 5,000-mile journey to Nottingham, England, for today's World Boxing Council super lightweight title bout against Englishman Junior Witter after fighting each of his previous 21 pro bouts within about a 3 1/2 -hour drive of his home. . . .

Wayne Gretzky was 23 when he hoisted the Stanley Cup for the first time -- with the Edmonton Oilers in 1984. . . .

Sidney Crosby could do it before he turns 21. . . .

Noting that the Lakers were at less than full strength when they were swept by the Detroit Pistons in the 1989 NBA Finals, reader Jason Thompson e-mails, "Let's remind everyone that Magic Johnson went down with a hamstring injury, and so did Byron Scott. That's why Detroit won and for no other reason." . . .

Lakers fans never forget.

--

jerome.crowe@latimes.com

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