Utah coach Jerry Sloan said he was surprised by the “deer in the headlights” personality the Jazz exhibited in the first quarter Sunday against the Lakers. Losses and even blowouts, I can understand. But, guys, for the love of Jerry! The posterizing must stop.
I’m not necessarily referring to the Kobe Bryant dunks over slower defenders (although I’m sick of watching those, too). I’m talking about the emotional posterizations that the Jazz let happen. Like these not fond memories:
- Shaquille O’Neal slapping Utah center Greg Ostertag before a playoff game. Even during the next game, Ostertag couldn’t muster even a hard foul. It was just humiliating.
- Andrei Kirilenko having a lousy Game 1 against Houston in the 2007 first round playoffs, getting chewed out by Sloan, then crying in the locker room to reporters. Embarrassing.
Now, in Sunday’s loss, another awful moment seared into the mind: Kirilenko steals the ball from Bryant and drives toward the Lakers’ basket — but he sails away from the defending Bryant and floats a horrible pass out of bounds, instead of taking the ball to the hoop in Bryant’s face. Pathetic.
I’m not even asking for a Jazz win in the Lakers series. I’d just like to see some fire. I’d love to see the Jazz come out to defend like the 1970s Philadelphia Flyers hockey team. I’d like to see Sloan suit up and batter Bryant for a couple of quarters like he used to abuse Jerry West.
Instead of “Kobe, please posterize me,” how about treating the rest of this series like a cage fight?