FORWARDS: The Lakers shoud have sensed they were in trouble when they trailed by six at the half and Karl Malone had only scored four points. The Mailman equaled that amount in the first couple of minutes of the 3rd and he rolled the rest of the half, scoring 22 of his 26 points. Bryon Russell fired in 17 points - as many as the Lakers' starting forwards combined - and his 3-pointer with 1-1/2 minutes left was very clutch.
CENTERS: Shaq is dominant. Shaq is a monster. Shaq can punish rims like nobody else. Shaq can't, however, win a game by himself. It's gotta be discouraging for the Lakers to waste a 39-point, 15-rebound performance by Shaqzilla, who used the Jazz's three-headed monster as a toothpick. Utah's centers had a respectable outing, especially on their non-Shaq interior defense. They combined for 7 blocks. Greg Ostertag was the bast Jazz center - 6 points, 4 boards, 3 blocks.
GUARDS: The Lakers used a pick-and-steamroll tactic on John Stockton early on, but he picked himself up and gave the Jazz yet another solid performance with nine points and eight assists. Jeff Hornacek added 9 points, but he's still misfiring from the field (2-for-7). Speaking of missing shots, Eddie Jones bricked 13 of 19 attempts for 16 points. The Laker's point guards struggled at best. Starter Derek Fisher had 4 points and 4 assists and Nick Van Exel went 2-for-13 for 10 points.
BENCHES: Karl Malone said it best: "Our bench won this game." And then some. Utah's subs, who outscored L.A.'s scrubs 46-22, were again the second-best team on the court (the Jazz starters being No. 1, of course). Chris Morris gave a huge spark in the 2nd quarter, when he scored 10 of his 15 points. Shandon Anderson was huge down the stretch, slashing his way through the Lakers for 11 4th-quarter points. Howard Eisley was steady again, scoring 8 points with 6 assists. Kobe Bryant had 9 and Elden Campbell was a no-show.
COACHING: So, you were wondering how Del Harris got all those gray hairs? Watching his young guns shoot a bunch of blanks doesn't help. His team missed 15 of 38 free throws and shot only 41 percent overall. Harris made some adjustments, putting Jones on Stockton on defense, for example. But the Jazz and Jerry Sloan had an answer for all of Harris' moves. Sloan again went and stayed with his red-hot bench. He also had the Jazz playing good defense away from Shaq.