Don't tell Lakers forward Robert Horry about coming back after being down 0-2 in a best-of-seven playoff series.
Been there, done that - twice, in fact.Horry played on Houston Rockets teams in 1994 and 1995 that bounced back after digging 0-2 holes for themselves against Phoenix in the Western Conference semifinals.
So is a third comeback in his future? Horry, for obvious reasons, hopes so.
Mindful that, including Houston's heroics, only seven teams in NBA playoff history have overcome a 2-0 deficit to win a best-of-seven series, Horry says the key is to just play hard.
"That's the only thing you can tell guys and for (gosh) sakes, ignore what's going on with the other team and the refs," Horry said as Los Angeles attempts to erase a 2-0 Utah advantage in the Western Conference finals. "You've just got to play basketball and quit whining. No complaining. Let it go."
Whether Horry's advice to his teammates is taken to heart remains to be seen. Game 3 is Friday at the Great Western Forum.
"(In Houston) we said let's go out and have some fun," Horry recalled. The Rockets even opted to play shooting games instead of practice one day.
The Lakers, however, have taken a more conventional approach. They spent time at practice Wednesday working on ways to slow the Jazz offense. Utah is averaging 105.5 points per game in the series.
"I think we just have to get them out of their pick and roll," Horry said.
"Make (John) Stockton give it up and let someone else handle the rock."
A big job? You bet. So much so, in fact, that the Lakers plan to mix their match-ups a little bit. Stockton (6-1) could find himself being guarded at times by Kobe Bryant, who is six inches shorter and 16 1/2 years younger than the Utah point guard.
Why else would head coach Del Harris spend so much time explaining to reporters what veteran tricks Stockton does on the floor? He went so far as to use media members as defenders as he actually demonstrated some of his concerns.
"You've got to know how to do it," Harris said while showing how he thinks Stockton uses his elbows to free himself from a defender on the pick-and-roll. Other motions showed his views on how Stockton traps an opponents arm and reacts to contact.
"We like to get our big guard on the point guard when we can. Unfortunately (in Game 2) Eddie Jones got his second foul on Stockton early.
"When we can get a bigger guard on Stockton we do," Harris said. "There's not many guys stronger than Stockton, so it's a matter of leverage."
The L.A. coach said Bryant is always an option to draw the assignment, but only if he's in at two guard. Otherwise, noted Harris, a mismatch exists at small forward.
At 6-6, Jones is physically capable of an advantage over Stockton. He was recently named to the All-NBA defensive second team.
"(Stockton) is key when it comes to running their offense, and they're great at what they do," Jones said. Thus, the Lakers want to get the ball out of Stockton's hands and force someone else to run the offense. "We're really playing their style of game. That's why we're down 2-0."
According to Rick Fox, Utah has dictated the tempo throughout the series by executing its style of basketball.
"We've been in their world for the last two games and lost," Fox said. "You've got to give Utah credit for that. In a lot of ways they've disrupted our offense and executed their offense. They put us in a pickle, in a sense, with the pick-and-roll."
Harris, however, discounts the notion that the Jazz offensive scheme has set the tone. He thinks folks are missing the point, and he's got the numbers to prove it. Utah ran the pick-and-roll 40 times in Game 2, scoring a total of 23 points and drawing seven fouls.
"That's not what beat us," Harris said, while acknowledging the Jazz did score eight points off the pick-and-roll in the fourth quarter. "Where they beat us was outscoring us in transition (Utah outscored L.A. 18-4 in fast-break points). That's an area we're supposed to win. We make 18 turnovers and cough up points."
Shaquille O'Neal also downplayed the effectiveness of Utah's pick-and-roll offense.
"We made a lot of careless turnovers. More or less, we beat ourselves," O'Neal said in reference to L.A.'s costly mistakes in the fourth quarter of Game 2. "If we continue to play hard, we'll be all right."
A dose of Horry's advice wouldn't hurt, either. Nick Van Exel believes the Lakers have yet to maintain their composure for an entire game in the series.
"The first game, (the Jazz) kept their poise for two minutes and the game was over. In Game 2, they kept their poise for 48 minutes. When we made runs, they never lost control of the game. They always kept their composure and always made runs back at us," Van Exel said. "That's the big difference right now. They're really not getting caught up in anything. They're just playing basketball."
He called L.A.'s beef with the officiating in Game 2 frustrating.
"You can't do anything about it," Van Exel said. "It's tough, but you've just got to tone it out."