LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers can't say they weren't warned.
By a well-trusted source even.
Hours before they took a 19-point lead on the Utah Jazz, L.A. coach Phil Jackson shared a message he delivers to his guys about the perils of playing in Salt Lake City.
Jackson after Friday morning's shootaround: "I always tell players, 'Don't get too far ahead against a Utah team or Jerry's going to wrap them up here in this arena. He's going to get the fans, including the referees, involved in this. So, be very careful in what you ask for."
They asked for it, and they got it.
The Jerry Sloan-coached Utah team rallied back — as it so often does — and stormed away with a 102-96 win over the two-time defending champions in a packed EnergySolutions Arena.
"You saw what happens — the madness that they play under," Jackson said after the game, as reported by ESPN.com. "They just go mad. (Ronnie) Price made a dunk, the crowd went wild, the energy started to build in the building and when that happens, you can get a landslide, an avalanche, out here."
It was sweet vindication for the team on the other side of the court.
"Yeah," Jazz guard Raja Bell said, "it was pretty incredible in there (Friday)."
Sure beat what Bell heard before the game started — in Utah, remember.
"I came out for shootaround early and I was getting heckled by Lakers' fans," Bell said. "And then to hear the crowd out there (Friday) late in the game, even early in the game when we started making a run, it was a pretty special atmosphere."
Just as Jackson predicted it could be.
THE PRICE IN FLIGHT: Speaking of that dunk, an impressed Al Jefferson gave Price's soaring slam — the one that rattled both the rim and the Jazz out of a funk in the second quarter — a perfect 10.
Video replays also showed a resting Deron Williams — and other teammates on the bench at the time — applauding the powerful left-handed jam by the 6-foot-2 guard.
For Williams, it actually brought back memories of the time Price posterized the Jazz when he played for the Sacramento Kings a few years ago.
"I thought it was reminiscent of when he dunked on Booz a little bit," Williams said, recalling Price's highlight-reel slam that came at Carlos Boozer's expense. "Except for Lamar Odom was smart enough not to jump."
SPECIAL DELIVERY?: Utah's win over the Lakers was its first in seven outings, including the second-round sweep last May. It also was only the fourth victory in 13 regular-season contests for the Jazz vs. their SoCal nemesis.
It left Williams wanting more, though.
"I don't think it was that special because we've been in that position before," said the All-Star point guard, who had 29 points and 12 assists.
"I think a special win would be doing that in L.A., winning in L.A., which we haven't done in a while," Williams added. "This was definitely a good win, a good team victory. I'm glad we fought back. We've got to do that on the road as well."
Although in Los Angeles today to face the Clippers, the Jazz won't get their chance to beat the Lakers at Staples Center until Jan. 25.
Utah hasn't knocked off the Purple and Gold in L.A. since New Year's Day 2006, a win that came in Williams' rookie season.
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