This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
If the Los Angeles Lakers are getting old, Jazz point guard Deron Williams doesn't see it.
The Lakers have 10 players on their roster who are at least 30.
Kobe Bryant, who turns 33 in August, has played almost 47,000 regular-season and playoff minutes in his career.
Paul Gasol, who turns 31 in July, will go over 28,000 combined minutes in the first quarter Tuesday night, when the Lakers play the Jazz at Staples Center.
Last week, Laker great Jerry West said his former team lacked a little defensively this season because it was "getting long in the tooth."
Coach Phil Jackson told the Los Angeles Times, "He's right. We have to do a lot of things right to be able to play defense the way we want to, and most of it is about controlling the tempo of the game."
Heading in their game against Utah, the Lakers are 32-13 and comfortably ahead in the Pacific Division.
But they are not overwhelming the Western Conference, which many at the start of the season predicted they would do.
L.A. is second in the West behind San Antonio. Five other teams, including Utah, are within six games of Kobe & Co.
Still, Williams doesn't believe age is an issue.
"I think they're like San Antonio was a couple of years ago," he said. "I don't want to say 'coast' through the regular season. But they know they're going to be in the playoffs and they don't really care if they get home court for the whole playoffs because they are confident in what they do."
Managing a slight smile, Williams added, "I don't think Phil's really worried."
Jazz center Francisco Elson's availability against the Lakers because of left quad tendinitis will be a game-time decision. ... Jazz player representative Ronnie Price says there's nothing new to report on the NBA labor front: "Just waiting until the season's over with and go from there. I don't think anybody's really worried about it right now." … The Jazz haven't won since Jan. 14 against Cleveland. "I don't think we're the only team that's ever lost four in a row," said coach Jerry Sloan before practice Monday. "I know the Lakers did it and people were about to jump over there. That's just part of the business." ... Asked about playing the Lakers and Spurs back-to-back this week, Sloan said, "That's the way it is. Are we going to play or are we just going to go home?"
Jazz at Lakers
P Tuesday, 8:30 p.m.
TV • FSN Utah