LOS ANGELES — It's not Jerry Sloan's personal preference.

But the triangle offense that the Los Angeles Lakers are running in their ongoing NBA Western Conference playoff semifinal series with his Jazz, the Jazz coach concedes, is one that has served Lakers coach Phil Jackson well.

"It's just basketball," said Sloan, whose Jazz faced the Lakers in Game 5 on Wednesday night. "I mean, it's very effective with their team.

"Everybody has to have some philosophy, or idea, of how they're gonna play. And he's been very successful with that," added the Jazz coach, who also ran into the triangle when Michael Jordan and the Jackson-coached Chicago Bulls beat Utah in both the 1997 and '98 NBA Finals. "He's had some great teams with it. He teaches it, and does it as well as anybody's ever done with it, probably, in this league.

"He knows it better than anybody else, obviously."

The triangle was created by former Southern Cal coach Sam Barry and refined by Tex Winter, who passed along its intricacies to Jackson as an assistant coach with both the Bulls and Lakers.

It relies on a strong-passing post player and revolves around reading and reacting to defenses rather than relying on predetermined movement.

It also cuts down on the count of isolation plays for stars like Jordan and current NBA MVP Kobe Bryant of the Lakers.

"Everybody has to have something to play out of," Sloan said.

"Maybe it becomes a little bit more dramatic when you've won championships with it. But they've (Jackson's Bulls and Laker teams) also had some great players there. If you have great players in any offense, it usually is going to succeed."

PAIN GAME: Jazz All-Star Carlos Boozer has dealt with back spasms, and worn a wrap on his back, throughout much of the past regular season and current playoffs.

But it hasn't become an issue, a la Bryant's bad back in last Sunday's Game 4.

"Mine may not be as severe as his," Boozer said after Wednesday's morning shootaround, "but I have a high tolerance for pain."

COACHING CAROUSEL: According to Wednesday's Chicago Tribune, Jazz assistant coach Tyrone Corbin is on "a long list" of candidates for the vacant Phoenix Suns head-coaching position.

Corbin played 77 games for the Suns during the 1988-89 season, and interviewed for the top job in Seattle last offseason.

Other reported candidates to replace new New York Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni in Phoenix include Jazz special assistant coach Jeff Hornacek and ex-Jazz point guard Mark Jackson, currently an NBA color commentator for ABC and ESPN.

SO DEFENSIVE: Jazz point guard Deron Williams received three first-team votes and five second-team votes, small forward Andrei Kirilenko received six second-team votes and shooting guard Ronnie Brewer received one second-team vote from head coaches selecting the All-NBA Defensive Team, which was released by the league earlier this week.

Williams finished with eight points, tied for 15th overall and 10 points shy of tying for the final second-team berth, which went to ex-Jazz guard Raja Bell of the Suns.

HE SAID IT: Boozer, on playing so many national-TV games now that the postseason is under way: "Your Mom gets to see you a lot more than usual."

The Jazz played just seven games on major national cable TV networks during the regular season.


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