Jazz notes: Another slow start for Utah

Notes » The Lakers make 15 of their 19 first-quarter shots as Utah struggles to keep game close.
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After watching his team fall behind by double digits to the Lakers yet again Sunday, coach Jerry Sloan 's first order of business for Game 2 will be addressing the Jazz's slow starts.

"I hope we come with a lot more intensity to start the game," Sloan said. "They're going to stroke you and they're going to knock you around a little bit and they'll try to take younger guys out of it, but we've got to be able to stand up to that and stay with it."

The Jazz trailed 30-23 at the end of the first quarter, with the Lakers having made 15 of 19 shots (78.9 percent), and fell behind by 14 early in the second quarter with their reserves in the game.

"You can't flip on a switch and expect to beat the defending champs at their place," Wesley Matthews said. "You've got to flip that switch when you get on the bus and come to the arena."

The Jazz felt they settled for too many jumpers -- they took four of them as the Lakers opened the second quarter with a 9-2 run -- and failed to get the ball inside, though they did have three entry passes stolen in the first quarter.

Tough matchup

From the opening possessions Sunday, the Lakers had 6-foot-7, 260-pound forward Ron Artest match up against Deron Williams . Artest is a former Defensive Player of the Year and one of the biggest defenders Williams has faced.

"Ron's a great defender," said Williams, who mentioned Shawn Marion and Grant Hill as two of his biggest defenders from the past, "but I definitely have a quickness advantage over him, so I'm going to use that to try to exploit that matchup."

After seeing Artest battle Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant in the first round, Lakers coach Phil Jackson admitted before the game that he didn't know how Artest would approach this series. Asking Artest to slow Williams would offer a new challenge.

"I'm a little concerned that he doesn't have a quote-unquote scorer to go out and defend," Jackson said, "you know, a Carmelo Anthony or someone that's a qualified big scorer."

Kirilenko update

Andrei Kirilenko said he planned to go through a full practice today for the first time since reinjuring his strained left calf April 15. Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor said the team wouldn't recommend Kirilenko return until he was both "physically and mentally" ready.

Bruised and battered

Williams went down just 20 seconds into the game when he tried to draw a foul on Derek Fisher with a swing-through jumper and ended up straining his neck. Williams stayed in the game after a timeout and went on to play 39 minutes.

"I'm beat up," Williams said. "That's normal this time of year. It's not a big deal. I'll be ready to go next game."


Williams received one third- and two fifth-place votes to finish ninth in voting for the NBA MVP award won by LeBron James . ... The Jazz were playing their first afternoon game Sunday as well as their first ABC-televised game of the season.


Another slow start for Jazz