For the first time since June 14, 1998 when the Chicago Bulls won the NBA Finals with a Game 6 victory over the Utah Jazz Jerry Sloan and Phil Jackson faced off in a playoff game in Salt Lake City.
The reunion, however, didn't hold much meaning for either coach.
"It doesn't mean anything," Sloan said before Friday night's 104-99 win over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals. "I don't coach against the other coach. I try to make decisions based on what I think is best for our team.
"I don't go in thinking I've got to beat Phil Jackson," he added. "It's the Jazz have to try to beat the Lakers."
Jackson is also focused on the present and not on the night nearly a decade ago when Michael Jordan shot the Bulls past the Jazz, 87-86.
"It's past history. Another era of basketball," Jackson said before acknowledging a little bit of nostalgia. "But there are some good feelings about having played here and having won a championship."
The longtime NBA coaches have crossed paths just three times in postseason play. Jackson leads the head-to-head playoff meetings by a 10-5 margin. Sloan, however, holds a 4-3 advantage at EnergySolutions Arena (formerly the Delta Center).
"Without a doubt we have had a lot of critical games that have been played between the two clubs that we've coached," said Jackson.
"And we pretty much know each other's rhythm."
Sloan considers Jackson a great coach.
"He's done a terrific job wherever he's been," said Sloan. "He's just a very fundamentally sound coach. He does a heckuva job."
A HIGHER HONOR: After being named to the All-NBA second team, Jazz guard Deron Williams acknowledged the honor held extra special meaning for someone who has been snubbed as an all-star.
"It's the whole season, not the first two months of the season and there's less politics involved," said Williams.
BRUISED BREWER: Things got physical early when Utah's Ronnie Brewer was elbowed on the left side of his head by L.A.'s Kobe Bryant.
"I caught an elbow, but it's part of basketball," said Brewer, who was treating the swelling near his ear with ice. "It's a physical game. It's the playoffs."
ENGINE TROUBLE: It was a mechanical problem and not Jackson that kept Jazz mascot "Bear" from revving his motorcycle engine on the court before Friday's game. Jackson had complained about the exhaust earlier in the week.KORVERSE: Jazz guard Kyle Korver has created a new design for Converse's Chuck Taylor All-Star shoe. His creation, part of contest called "MyChucks," will be featured online (at www.mychucks.eastbay.com) and include a video of how Korver's design came to fruition. (See story on D14.)
Contributing: Tim Buckley