In the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world of the NBA, Jazz guard Ronnie Price might have made himself some money in Utah's Game 5 elimination loss to the Lakers on Monday night.
He wasn't exactly celebrating that possibility while cleaning out his locker at EnergySolutions Arena on Tuesday afternoon. Price, the sparkplug of Utah's comeback that trimmed a 22-point deficit to six with 3:43 left in the game, didn't see any personal silver lining in the Jazz's defeat.
"We lost the game," Price said. "I don't think a statement was made. All I did was play hard."
Statements, however, were made by coach Jerry Sloan both after the game on Monday and again on Tuesday regarding Price's standout play. Sloan admitted he made a mistake by not playing Price more following Utah's Game 5 loss, and then gave credit to the fourth-year reserve guard on Tuesday.
"One guy steps up and changes the whole complexion of the game with effort," Sloan said.
In 14 minutes in Game 5, Price scored eight points, had five assists, three rebounds and perhaps most impressively had a plus/minus of +10. His layup with 9:20 remaining started Utah's rally.
"I was very happy for him," said Jazz veteran guard Brevin Knight, who shared playing time with Price throughout the season. "He's one of those guys who never complains, never says anything, works hard every day and makes things happen. That's what he's capable of doing. It was very good to see him do that."
Price appeared in 52 games for the Jazz, and averaged a little more than 14 minutes of playing time in those contests. Both Price and Knight, the Jazz's backup point guards, are unrestricted free agents, and neither player is sure if he'll be back next season.
Price certainly helped his case to be re-signed with his performance in Utah's Game 5 defeat, but he wasn't in a reflective mood on Tuesday.
"That stuff doesn't concern me," Price said. "What concerns me is winning games, playing hard and doing the right things."
"As far as contracts and all that other stuff, that stuff takes care of itself," Price added. "I don't really have control of that, so the most important thing is what we do on the court as a team."
Price said he wasn't frustrated with what his role was on the Jazz during the 2008-09 season.
"Of course you want to do things to help the team win," Price said. "If that means me being on the bench or me being on the court, I can't control that. All I can do is do my job when my name is called and let everything else take care of itself."
Price, who signed with the Jazz in July of 2007 after spending the first two seasons of his career in Sacramento, said he'd like to be back in Utah next year.
"I've been a part of this organization for two years, and I have a lot of good relationships with guys on this team and on the coaching staff and management has really been great," Price said.
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