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Official postgame quotes and notes following the Jazz's 102-96 victory against the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night at EnergySolutions Arena.
Notes: The Jazz are now 3-7 in their last 10 games against the Lakers, and 6-4 in their last 10 in Salt Lake...Earl Watson, had a season-high in points with eight, scoring all eight points in the second quarter. ...Trailing by 19 points at the 10:25 mark in the second quarter, the Jazz went on a 29-9 run, taking the lead at 1:48 left in the first half...Including tonight, the Lakers have outscored the Jazz 188-134 in the first quarters of the past six games (L.A. averaging 31.3 pts/qtr and Utah 22.3 pts/qtr.)...Deron Williams finished the game with 29 points and 12 assists, giving him his ninth double-double of the season.
Jerry Sloan – (12-5 this season)On the game"It looked pretty bleak out there in the early part of the ballgame when they got out to a pretty good lead on us. Again our second group came in and gave us a tremendous lift. They got the fans behind us. Their energy level jumped up a great deal. We ran the ball up the floor and got a couple lay-ups out of it and I think that really made a difference in our confidence level. We had a lot of guys play well. Obviously you have to play against this team. You see Kobe Bryant go off for what he did, we went and doubled him finally. We came out of it alive. Looked like we were going to crumble a little bit, but our guys kept fighting. That's the one thing that was really impressive for us. Keep battling, give yourself a chance. Doesn't make any difference who you're playing. Don't be intimidated and I thought we stuck with it all night after we got past the first quarter."
On Al Jefferson"He made some shots around there. I thought he made a couple nice passes. Teams are going to recognize that. Make a little adjustment here and there, make a couple passes and that certainly makes things a lot easier for him. A lot easier for our team to get easier baskets."
Deron Williams – Guard (29 points, 12 assists)On the game:"It was a great win for us. Again, the first quarter was bad, but the second group again just gave us the energy that we needed. It makes us [the first group] want to play harder. As we see how hard they're playing, we can't let them go out there and do all the fighting. Once the second group came in, I thought we did a much better job defensively, rebounding the ball better and getting up the floor a lot better."We're going to get better as we play more together, just as any team does."
On stopping Kobe Bryant"Coach made the adjustment. He doubled him, made him give up the ball. Anytime a guy like that gets into a rhythm you have to get the ball out of his hands. I think it helped us a lot."
On winning the boards"That was another keeper, I thought the field goal percentage and winning the boards was what won us the game tonight."
On the potential of the Jazz"If we can survive our first quarters I think we're as good as anybody. A matter of doing what we did this game from the second quarter on. It's just getting stops, executing well, every possession counts."
C.J. Miles – Guard (4 points, 4 rebounds)
On the game"We played hard and got the crowd behind us. Guys made good shots and Deron took us home in the end.
On whether the comeback seemed the same as the previous comebacks this season"Today it didn't seem like it (the same). Just the way the game was going. We were missing shots and they were getting good breaks. They made some shots, but we knew that it wasn't going to be that bad. They were just hot, so it was kind of different from the way we got down before. And then that second group, we just tried to bring energy."
On this win being the most important win of the season"Definitely, one of them. It's definitely been a great test the last couple of games. Two good teams we've played against, and to be able to show that we can play against those guys."
On Kobe Bryant going off in the fourth quarter"You knew it was coming. Everybody in the building knows in the four minutes you're up six, who's going to get the ball the last four minutes of the game. And we were talking, the last three of the four years they've ran that same play the last three or four minutes of the game."
Raja Bell– Guard (9 points, 3 rebounds)On wins building toughness"I think that it's a big stepping stone for us as a team. We've played some good pretty good teams and come back, but we haven't played anybody with the resume of the Lakers and been able to come back, especially on our home floor where we've struggled a bit. It was a good win for us and I think we all now believe we can do it. Now we just need to find a way to come out of the gates and really start to assert ourselves early in the game."
On the arena atmosphere"Yeah, it was pretty incredible in there tonight. I came out for shootaround early and I was getting heckled by Lakers fans. And then to hear the crowd out there tonight late in the game, even early in the game when we started making a run, it was a pretty special atmosphere."
Al Jefferson – Forward (20 points, 8 rebounds)On the game and what the win means to him"I haven't beaten the Lakers in probably six years, since I left Boston, and I haven't been in a playoff game in six years and it felt like a playoff game. Every possession counted. Kobe Bryant being who he is, and we were down, we fought back, we didn't give up. We won against all odds. It was just amazing man. I'm overwhelmed. It's never been like this before, and to be a part of this. It just meant a lot to me."
On the team"We're coming together. We know what it takes. We know if we play great defense, rebound, and run the floor, if we get stops, we'll be able to run and it's been working for us. When the Lakers went up 19 on us, we didn't panic. We knew we had been there before. We knew how to adjust to that and the second unit once again was the big for us, real big. They brought both their energy and got us back in the game. And then our captain, our leader, that boy [Deron Williams] is something special. He brought us home."Notes: The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for the Lakers and a six-game winning streak (including the playoffs) against the Jazz...In the first quarter the Lakers shot 68.4% and outrebounded the Jazz 13-5...In the second quarter the Lakers shot 19% and were outrebounded 17-10 by the Jazz...The Lakers had a 19-point first half lead, lost the lead after a 29-9 run by the Jazz and then ended the half on a 5-0 run to take a four-point lead into the break...In the first half, the Lakers shot 20 free throws versus nine for the Jazz...Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom had their 13th and eighth double-doubles of the season... Including tonight, the Lakers have outscored the Jazz 188-134 in the first quarters of the past six games (L.A. 31.3 average, Utah 22.3 average)...The Lakers shot 26.7% from the three-point line, their worst of the season ... Kobe Bryant finished with a game-high 31 points, including 14 straight points for the Lakers in the fourth quarter (the final 14 scored by the Lakers) ... Bryant has now amassed a total of 1233 points in 47 career regular season games vs. the Jazz, good for a 26.2 scoring average (fifth- highest opponent average in Jazz history) ... The Lakers were outrebounded 42-38.
Phil Jackson – (13-3 this season)On the game"They have a lot of energy. They got their small guard group and they got some penetration, did some things. Defensively they played a little better but that is going to happen on this court. They are going to have games like that. The real thing about that game was we let it get away on that turnover steal that (Raja) Bell got. There will be some tough times on the road. The road is not always easy out there."
On the shot clock situation"That's a tough break on our part. It was one of those things where an air ball turned into a three-point play eventually after multiple stops and corrections. It just got all messed up at the end of the game. Pau (Gasol) did not handle the ball well and subsequent play after that. It changed the context of the game."
Kobe Bryant – Guard (31 points, 3 assists)On the game"We went out there guarding the basket. Price and Watson, the second group, they got to the basket with easy layups. They put some pressure on us, pushed to turn the ball over. The second unit came is and did a really good job. They picked up the pace, the energy was great. We did not make shots; we helped them get in transition. It was good game by them."
On the 24 second shot clock malfunction"It didn't bother us at all. It was more comical than anything. We had a good run before the defense had a chance to set."
On the Jazz new roster"They are a great team. They got a lot of talent. They play that way all the time. You can take the softest player in the league and put him on the Jazz and he'll turn into a tough guy."
Pau Gasol – Center (21 points, 11 rebounds)On the Bell steal in the final minutes"It was a miscommunication. I made the wrong decision. We talked about some things in the timeout and I decided to do something different in the play. He wasn't expecting it so that's why he turned the ball over. I was supposed to hand fake and take it to the rim myself, which didn't happen unfortunately."
On the game"It's tough. When you give up a turnover to the other team to get back into the game on the road, they're probably going to take advantage and we pay the price. That's kind of what happened tonight. The second unit of their team came out with a lot of energy and got them back in the game. It was a battle after that. We didn't have our best shooting night. They got the win and we go home with a loss."
On the Deron Williams performance"He played very well, shot the ball extremely well tonight. 10-for 14 from the floor, above his average, but he stepped up, made big plays. I think that's a pretty remarkable game."
Brian T. Smith