Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko frustrated Kobe Bryant in the late going of Utah's win over the Los Angeles Lakers last Friday.
Bryant finished with a team-high 27 points, but guarded mostly by Kirilenko at crunchtime missed all three of his fourth-quarter shots from the field as the Jazz overcame a nine-point deficit in the second half to win 114-108.
Kirilenko, however, isn't taking anything from granted when the two teams meet again tonight in a TNT-televised showdown at the Staples Center.
"I think I was a little bit lucky in the first game," he said, "because I don't think Kobe was so active like usually is. So he make my job a little easy."Bryant, who underwent offseason knee surgery, is averaging 24.1 points per game this season a pinch above his 23.9-point career average, but well off his career-high 35.4 average from a season ago.
COSTLY COMMENTS: Lakers coach Phil Jackson was fined $25,000 by the NBA on Wednesday for ripping referees one day after the Jazz beat L.A. last week.
Jackson suggested the crew of Derrick Stafford, Derek Richardson and Leroy Richardson allowed the game against Utah to get too physical he called it "roughhouse" and that the refs were unfair with specific calls involving young Lakers center Andrew Bynum."The league throws out some referee corps that you're dubious about to start with," Jackson told the Los Angeles Times, "and, you know, the game ends up to be like that."
BAND TOGETHER: Asked for his take on Ben Wallace's highly publicized headband battle with Chicago Bulls coach Scott Skiles, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan a stickler for team rules, and a noted anti-individualist hinted the only way his players would ever wear one is ... over his retired body.
"I guess we'd wear headbands ... but I doubt it," Sloan said."If they were that much against what I'm trying to do," he added, "then I don't belong here."
DARN COMPUTER: A Jazz official said a computer glitch cheated forward Carlos Boozer out of a rebound in Monday's game against Orlando, and the NBA approved adding the extra board to Boozer's total just enough for a 10-rebound, 21-point double-double.Boozer now has double-doubles in 13 of 16 games this season.
NAME GAME: The Jazz's recent decision to sell naming rights of the arena formerly known as the Delta Center was the primary subject of a New York Times story Wednesday.Comment on this story
Wrote Richard Sandomir of the Times, in part: " ... naming a stadium for a hazardous-waste disposer is a rare chance for smart alecks to make their bids for the most creative and silliest mockeries of (EnergySolutions) Arena. Since the announcement of the Delta-to-(EnergySolutions) name switcheroo last week, KSL-TV, in Salt Lake City, has invited people to send e-mail messages with their proposed monikers, which include:The Glow Bowl and the Isotope. The Dump and ChernoBowl. JazzMat (short for Jazzardous Materials), the Big Bang and the Tox Box. The Power House and the Hot Spot. The Fallout Shelter. And the Melta Center."
MILLSAP SIGNS: According to ProExposure.com, the CBA's Utah Eagles a new minor-league team based in Salt Lake City have signed the older brother of Jazz rookie Paul Millsap.John Millsap played at the University of Texas-San Antonio, and spent part of last season playing in Serbia.
MISC.: Usual San Antonio starting shooting guard Manu Ginobili missed his third straight game with a bruised back. ... Rafael Araujo and Roger Powell Jr. again were inactive for the Jazz. ... Ex-Jazz guard Jacque Vaughn dressed but did not play (coach's decision) for the Spurs.