Scott D. Pierce: National TV analysts slam Jazz — and rightfully so?

Published: Friday, April 24 2009 12:00 a.m. MDT

Once upon a time, local NBA fans would have been up in arms about the way the Jazz are getting dissed on national TV.

Today, not so much.

And yours truly would have been writing columns about how national sportscasters were dumping on little ol' Utah again.

Today, not so much.

At the risk of inciting the remaining diehards who think the Jazz have a chance to take down the Lakers in Round 1 of the playoffs — if there are any of you still out there — the lack of reaction obviously has a lot to do with the low expectations for the Jazz.

When I was in journalism school, they taught us that truth is the absolute defense against libel. And, through the first couple of games (this is being written before Game 3), the absolute truth is that the Jazz are living down to expectations.

So when TNT analyst Reggie Miller said, "This is almost like a Thanksgiving Day feast. (Kobe Bryant) is just carving up the Utah defense," well, about all Jazz fans could do was cringe.

And then studio analyst Charles Barkley said during the intermission, "The Jazz played no defense. If the coach calls you out for not playing any defense and you give up 61 points in the first half, that's not good."

Or you could point to Kenny Smith saying, "The whole Laker team is doing what they want. There has been no adjustment, and that is what the playoffs are all about. ... There may have been talk in the locker room, but no visible adjustments."

There's that whole truth thing again.

In the second half of Game 2, the sportscasters took a more even-handed approach. But that would be because, well, the game got closer.

"I'm seeing signs of defensive life by the Utah Jazz," Miller said. But, as he pointed out, was the relatively close final score the result of the Jazz playing better or the Lakers playing worse?

"Both teams are, like, 'You take it. No, you take it,' " Miller said.

At this point, even compliments sound a little like insults. Because the truth hurts.

"(The Jazz) played harder and better, but they don't have the talent level to compete," Smith said.

TELLING STORIES: The mtn. is debuting a new weekly series on Monday (7 p.m., MT) that might catch the interest of a few local fans.

"Stories of the Mountain West" wasn't available for preview, so I can't tell you how good it is. But I can tell you that one of the three segments features Jonny Harline, the BYU receiver who caught the winning TD pass in the Cougars' 33-31 win over Utah in 2006.

According to the folks at The mtn., "With his NFL career cut short by injury, Jonny Harline now performs as the lead guitarist for the Utah band Perfect Disorder while he works to resume his professional football career."

E-mail: pierce@desnews.com

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