Having the Jazz play their first Sunday home game since the 2001 NBA playoffs, as they will this afternoon, may be a big deal to some in Utah.

But it's not for many Jazz players and coaches.

"I think the bottom line," coach Jerry Sloan said, "is you play whenever. ... Saturday, Monday. It doesn't make a difference."

Nor, in Sloan's mind, does today's 1:30 p.m. start for Game 3 of the Jazz-Los Angeles Lakers Western Conference semifinal series.

"I think a lot of players would rather play an afternoon game than a night game," he said.

"That way you don't have all day to sit around and ponder what happens, what you have to do," Sloan added. "You get up, have breakfast and go to the game."

Point guard Deron Williams doesn't have a preference either way.

"It doesn't matter what time it is," he said. "Two o'clock in the morning, and I wouldn't care. I'd be there."

Among those who won't be at EnergySolutions Arena today is Jazz owner Larry H. Miller, who for religious reasons won't be in his usual courtside seat.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who faced a Utah team in the playoffs here on a Sunday twice previously, took a playoff jab at Miller in that regard Saturday.

"The unfortunate part," Jackson said, "is ... we don't get to see him across the court."

Jackson's old Chicago Bulls played at the Delta Center twice on Sunday en route to NBA championships in the 1990s.

"There was one they stole at the end of the game in '97," he said, "and there was one in '98 we won."

Jazz forward Carlos Boozer, meanwhile, was asked Saturday if he was fearful there might be more Laker fans than usual in attendance because it's a Sunday.

"I'm not worried about that," he said. "I think we'll have enough support."

DEFENSIVE ASSIST: Boozer's breakout Game 3 came as little surprise to Jackson, who said the combination of the Jazz's effective transitions, screen rolls, post-ups and second opportunities helped him snap out of his postseason slump.

The Lakers' defense, he hinted, also contributed to Boozer's 27-point, 20-rebound night.

"I think we stayed out of his way most of the time. That's what we tried to do," Jackson said. "We'll talk about that."

CRYING FOUL: Jackson bristled a bit Saturday when a TV reporter claimed Sloan was complaining about star treatment referees allegedly give NBA MVP Kobe Bryant of the Lakers.

"(Sloan) can't even open his mouth or think about that the way Boozer pushes and shoves out there," Jackson said. "I mean, he got away with all of his pushes (Friday) night, which he was getting called on in L.A."

Jackson, however, didn't say anything to suggest he believes the NBA's premier players do not get some preferential treatment.

"In that regard," he said, "you just let it go and say, 'Well, the stars get to play their game and the other guys have to keep their hands to themselves."'

HE SAID IT: Boozer, on Bryant's pass-to-himself-off-the-backboard-out-of-a-trap dunk Friday: "I do it a couple times a summer — in pickup. But, I mean, this is the NBA playoffs. ... It's not like a charity event, or All-Star. I mean, that was a marvelous play. Even though I hated it was against us, as a fan, that was a great basketball play."

HE SAID IT II: Sloan, on Bryant: "He's a different kind of player than the guys I played against. ... I guess he's probably more comparable to Michael Jordan than anybody else — and I never played against him. I'm glad I didn't."

E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com