DENVER — What's the saying? Tell a friend, telephone, telegram, tell-a-Melo?
Word got back to Carmelo Anthony that the gritty Matt Harpring, now part of the Jazz TV broadcast team, encouraged Utah's players to defend the Denver star a bit rougher and tougher after Saturday's 42-point outing.
"I'm hearing that he's sending a message to the guys, saying the one way to get to me is get in my head," Anthony said at Monday's shootaround. "That's what he used to try to do."
Sure enough, Harpring did advocate applying some extra force and giving Anthony a hard foul to get under his skin — bumping of the nondirty variety, of course.
In other words, the ex-Jazz forward wants C.J. Miles and Wesley Matthews to pester Anthony like he used to when Harpring got what he described as a "satisfaction of being able to frustrate people."
Melo insists he's more, well, mellow nowadays, so that tactic is outdated.
"That was my younger days; I was 19 or 20," the soon-to-be 26-year-old Anthony said. "I'm older, now. I'm done with that."
Denver's acting coach Adrian Dantley agreed that Harpring could get into Anthony's head in his earlier NBA career. But, he added, "In the (recent) past, Harpring didn't give Melo that much trouble."
And however feisty and fierce Miles and Matthews get, Dantley said it can't compare to Harpring's brand of brut.
"They might play him physical ... (but) they're not Matt Harpring," Dantley said. "Matt Harpring was a football player who played basketball. He banged him, played physical with him."
Might be a good thing for Anthony that Harpring was a quarterback.
WELL-WISHERS: Mehmet Okur is gone from the team and is out for the playoffs as he prepares for surgery on his ruptured Achilles tendon, but the starting center is on his teammates' minds.
"We still have his locker up in the locker room," Jazz forward Carlos Boozer said Monday morning. "We're honoring him."
Okur is still deciding the specifics on his impending surgery, details of which should be finalized today. General manager Kevin O'Connor said the organization is allowing Okur to decide what surgeon will perform the procedure and where it will take place but said he's been told the sooner the better.
"How things change so quickly," Okur said on his website. "If someone asked me 10 days ago, 'What do you think?' I would have said at least a Western Conference final. But now I just wish my teammates the best."
Rehab could take between three and six months, O'Connor said Sunday, and it's possible Okur might not be ready to go by the beginning of the 2010-11 season.
On Okur's personal website, the Turkish player's doctor, Mustafa Karahan, made a statement — after consulting with the Jazz's team physician, Dr. Lyle Mason — that the Achilles is ruptured "very near the muscle tendon, which requires immediate surgery that is being planned this week."
Also on his website, Memo revealed that he'll have to wear a cast and then a walking boot for a month apiece after the surgery.
"I just feel bad for him," Boozer said. "It's tough to deal with something like that. He's got to move forward and do the best he can to take care of his injury."
MONEY MATTERS: Because they finished tied with Denver for fourth-best record in the NBA's Western Conference, and because they made it to the postseason, Jazz players and a few select staff members will share $309,987 in bonus money from the league's $12 million playoff pool.
That's about $15,000 each.
Should they beat Denver and make it to second-round play, the Jazz would pick up another $213,095 to share.
The team that wins the NBA title will split at least $2.8 million — or roughly $143,000 per player and staff member, based on 20 full shares.
Before taxes, of course.
WRONG CHANNEL: When a reporter mentioned that many people across the nation are predicting the Jazz's first-round doom after a 126-113 Game 1 loss, Boozer acted like that was news to him.
"I don't really watch TV," he said. "I'm still watching 'House' right now."
Contributing: Tim Buckley
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