Even though the Rockets downplayed all the nasty-screens hoopla after finally winning a game in this series, the Jazz haven't forgotten.
In fact, they joke about the way Houston resorted to sending film of the Utah tactic to the NBA offices."I wonder if they sent film of Kevin Willis into the league office?" Sloan said, referring to the Houston forward's bully-boy approach to the game.
Jazz center Greg Foster was asked by a Houston writer if he gets frustrated with the way Olajuwon gets away with obvious traveling, and he said, "What are we going to do, send a tape into the league? Can we do that?"
Foster did admit to being frustrated, but more because the Jazz big men haven't been allowed to play physical with Olajuwon than because the Houston center walks.
"I don't feel like they've let us play him hard the whole series," he said. "He goes whining to the referees, and he'll get a call."
Foster also noted it's ironic that Olajuwon accused Malone of flopping, when he merely has to throw his arms in the air to get a call.
"It's ironic, but that's how it is," he said. "You get away with what you can get away with. He's doing it to get the attention of the officials, even though I don't think he needs to do it."
SOME SENSE: Houston Chronicle columnist Mickey Herskowitz finally sounded the voice of reason, ripping the Rockets in print Saturday for trying to say the Jazz are dirty, cheating, etc.
"When did the Rockets become grumpy old men, whining and grousing and carrying on ad nauseam about the bullies from the Beehive State?" he wrote. "When did they decide self-pity was a form of motivation? This behavior is not only unattractive, it is self-defeating."
Herskowitz came to the defense of Utah's John Stockton and Karl Malone.
"John Stockton? The Rockets are offended because he `calls himself a choirboy' and then sets a pick?" he wrote. "To begin with, there is no record of Stockton describing himself in this way, although he surely looks like a choirboy or a counselor at a summer camp for kids. The media gave him the label, and there isn't much he can do about it, even if he cared. Stockton is . . . a bright, classy fellow.
"Nobody ever called Karl Malone a choirboy and he has made no such claim of his own. Karl looks like the kind of guy the Army drops behind enemy lines to take out a missile base using only a butter knife."
Herskowitz went on to criticize the Rockets for trying to portray the poke in the eye suffered by Olajuwon in Game 1 as an elbow, when replays clearly showed it was, at worst, a finger. He also noted that Charles Barkley, the Rockets' loudest whiner, hardly has room to accuse anyone of dirty play, considering his record.
BARKLEY STUFF: Barkley, on Eddie Johnson's 31 points after being missing-in-action in Games 1 and 2: "We can take him off the milk carton now."
Barkley said the Rockets decided before Game 3 that it was time to keep their mouths shut and play. "We've got to quit whining and complaining about the officiating," he said. "They're going to set the picks, and we've got to get through them somehow." (Gee, do you think he'd have said that if they'd lost?)
More Barkley, on physical play: "Everybody always talks about it being physical, but the truth is that on both teams, there's only about three or four guys who would actually fight. The rest of them would be running to the bench, trying to put a seatbelt on."