JAZZ: Sloan thinks Spurs are 'better' than great Utah teams
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Posted: 11:21 AM- SAN ANTONIO - Coach Jerry Sloan added daunting perspective to the challenge his Jazz team is facing against the San Antonio Spurs tonight in Game 2 of the NBA's Western Conference finals.

Asked at the pre-game shootaround how the Spurs compare with the great Jazz teams he coached in the late 1990's, Sloan offered a short-but-frightening response.

"They're better," he said.

The Spurs have won three championships in the last eight years and finished 58-24 in the regular season this year, while the Jazz lost in the NBA Finals twice in 1997 and 1998. And while the old Jazz had John Stockton and Karl Malone, Sloan said the Spurs' Tim Duncan is an equally amazing player who "might be the best player ever to play the position."

Presumably, he meant the hybrid forward-center position that Duncan plays, rather than the pure power forward role in which Malone scored 36,928 points in his career - second-most in NBA history.

mcl@sltrib.com