While Kobe Bryant, his ailing back and the Los Angeles Lakers continue to get the most publicity on a national level during this Western Conference semifinal, the Utah Jazz got some love from what many would consider an unlikely source.

The most famous Laker of all — former L.A. great Magic Johnson — gave props to the Jazz for knotting this series up 2-2 with their two wins in Salt Lake City over the weekend.

Johnson told his co-hosts on TNT's "Inside the NBA" show late Tuesday night that the group needed to "give Utah some credit" for its improved play.

"They've been physical. They've been outhustling the Lakers," Johnson said following the Spurs-Hornets game. "And also, too, (Carlos) Boozer woke up, and Deron Williams has just been fantastic, really, his leadership. They got into their fast-break game and, so, give Utah some credit."

Johnson added that he isn't surprised that this series, which continues with Game 5 tonight at 8:30 at the Staples Center, will go at least six games. A possible seventh game would be played Monday, depending on what happens tonight in SoCal and Friday at EnergySolutions Arena.

"I said in the beginning this was going to be a tough series and it is a tough series. You got a team that plays just like their coach, Jerry Sloan. They're tough, they're mean, they're physical," he said. "I love Jerry Sloan. He's one of my favorite people in the league because he won't change for nobody. More power to ya, Jerry."


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