LOS ANGELES A strong start.
According to point guard Deron Williams, that was "a big part of our downfall in L.A."
Once down 0-2 to the Los Angeles Lakers in their best-of-seven NBA Western Conference semifinal series, the Jazz are back here tonight tied at 2 and knowing what they have to do to avoid going back down.
"We've got to focus on that coming out, and having a good start," Williams said. "We know they're gonna come out and try to blow us away early, try to use their momentum with their crowd and just their confidence at home ... and we've got to be able to overcome that."
"It's just a matter of ... our focus, and how good we can stay with our gameplan, especially from the beginning," starting small forward Andrei Kirilenko said.
In their two wins at Utah, starting power forward Carlos Boozer added, "We were more aggressive going to the basket. D-Will (Williams) got it started when he was driving over and over and over again, and we just kept trying to take it inside going to the paint, whether it be on layups, fastbreaks, post-ups."
Not so when the series started.
"The first half (of the first two games) was devastating to us," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said after this morning's shootaround, "because they set the tone with what they wanted to do and they got out and got it done. We were trying to fight all night long after that."
It has to be different tonight, Williams insists.
And for that he put the burden on himself.
"I don't think we came out the way we should have in L.A. I don't think we started pushing the ball, so that's something I wanted to get established when we got back home," he said. "And I'm gonna try to do the same thing when we get on the road push the tempo a little bit, get guys going early, so we have those good starts.""I think on the road, especially, I've got to do it right away," he added. "You can always expect a couple guys to be the same at home and away, and I think I have to be one of those guys. Maybe you've got to be even more aggressive on the road, and try to pick up some of the slack, and that's what I plan to do from the start."
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