WE GOT A KICK Sunday out of listening to Utah coach Jerry Sloan, who could be out to dinner with Cindy Crawford and complain that he didn't get the table with the view, try to paint a dark and gloomy picture of his team's 35-point victory over the Lakers in Game 1. "We're going to have a tough time playing them tomorrow if we play the same way we played yesterday," he groused.

Yeah, if the Jazz shoot 53.8 percent from the field and get another 53 points from its bench, the Lakers will have a feast.Shaquille O'Neal didn't come off looking too classy when he threatened to start throwing elbows in the wake of his "one-of-those-days" performance against Utah Saturday.

"They make up these rules that they don't enforce, so I've got to enforce them myself. I've got to protect myself, that's all I'm saying."

Sloan wasn't exactly shaking in his sneakers.

Jim McCurdie

Long Beach Press-Telegram

POSSIBLY THE ONLY thing tougher to contain than the Lakers' explosive offense is the Lakers' egos. The Utah Jazz did both.

Last week, the Lakers tore through the Seattle SuperSonics with such flair and ease that it seemed impossible for it not to go to their heads. They hoped otherwise as they prepared for the Jazz, but after Saturday's . . . loss in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals, the Lakers had to admit to some ego inflation.

Howard Beck

Los Angeles Daily News