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Utah Jazz set for rematch with Lakers
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2009, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

After their six-point meltdown in the fourth quarter of Wednesday's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, the last thing the Jazz might want to do three days later is play the defending champions again back in Utah.

Carlos Boozer, however, would beg to disagree. The best thing for the Jazz in moving forward with their season and heading into their annual pre-Christmas trip next week might be playing the Lakers again so soon.

"Yeah, so we can learn," Boozer said. "They're what we're trying to get to. They're the champions. We got blown out over there in that fourth quarter and we're looking forward to playing them. They're a very good basketball team and we'll learn from our mistakes."

With a victory Saturday night, the Jazz would close a 3-1 week against three of the NBA's title favorites in San Antonio, Orlando and the Lakers. After beating the Magic on Thursday, the Jazz have won nine of their last 12 games and six in a row at home.

The Lakers will be making their first trip to Utah since beating the Jazz in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series in April. They took a 10-game winning streak into Friday's game against 3-19 Minnesota in Los Angeles.

"Everybody knows the history we have with them," C.J. Miles said. "We're just going to try to protect our home floor."

That history now includes the worst quarter of the Jazz's season. The Lakers erased an eight-point deficit in the third quarter Wednesday, then flattened the Jazz in a 28-6 fourth. Utah missed its first 12 shots in the quarter and committed nine turnovers.

Even after suffering a 24-point loss -- their 13th in a row to the Lakers at Staples Center -- the Jazz will try to focus on the fact they were in the game through three quarters, trailing by just two points entering that horrific fourth.

"That's the positive we can take away from that game is we played them tight through three quarters," Deron Williams said. "But with this team it doesn't take them but a couple minutes to break a game wide open because they have so many weapons."

Beyond Kobe Bryant, the Lakers present a host of matchup problems for the Jazz, starting with their two 7-footers in Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. The Lakers also have one of the longest forwards in Lamar Odom and most physical forwards in Ron Artest.

The Lakers had one sequence in the first quarter Wednesday in which Bryant popped out for a three-pointer with Wesley Matthews' hand in his face. Back on defense, Gasol used his height to block Boozer, then grabbed an offensive rebound at the other end and scored.

There was little the Jazz could do on any of the three plays. After the game, Williams said plainly: "They've got a lot of weapons. There's no other way to look at it. They have five guys who can score 40 on their team."

Williams is coming off a near triple-double (32 points, 15 assists, eight rebounds) against the Magic. Lakers coach Phil Jackson removed Derek Fisher, who was scoreless in 18 minutes, for Shannon Brown to slow Williams in the third quarter Wednesday.

The Jazz also have gotten a boost from Miles, who scored 22 points off the bench Thursday. Miles hit a jumper followed by a three-pointer in final two minutes to put away the Magic. He was credited afterward with helping open the floor thanks to his shooting.

Williams, meanwhile, was clear about the Lakers' place at the top of the NBA's hierarchy.

"They're the best team in basketball, I think, right now," Williams said. "You can put the Celtics, you can put this team [Orlando] up there as well.

"But they just have so many weapons. They play great defense, they're well-coached. It's going to be a tough game for us, but we're looking forward to it."

Briefly

The Jazz's victory over Orlando was their second in the second game of a back-to-back set this season, having only won three times in such circumstances last season. . . .Talking about Boozer on TNT's postgame show, Charles Barkley said the Jazz were "going through the motions this year because Boozer is not going to be there next year." Barkley went on to add that Boozer has been inconsistent as a result. "You can't fake energy and effort," Barkley said. "He knows he is not going to be there next year. Everyone in Utah knows it; everyone on that team knows it." Boozer was selected as the Western Conference Player of the Week on Monday. . . . Longtime Jazz broadcaster Hot Rod Hundley will be back in Utah to call Saturday night's game as part of the Lakers television crew.

rsiler@sltrib.com" Target="_BLANK">rsiler@sltrib.com

Jazz vs. Lakers

At EnergySolutions Arena

Time » 7 p.m.

TV/Radio » FSN Utah, 1320 AM, 98.7 FM

Last meeting » Lakers won 101-77 on Wednesday

About the Jazz » After falling behind by 15 in the first half Monday against San Antonio and 18 in the first half Thursday against Orlando, the Jazz came back to win both games. It was the first time since November 2006 that the Jazz had won consecutive home games in which they trailed by 15 points or more in each.

About the Lakers » The Lakers opened the season with one of the home-heaviest schedules imaginable, playing 17 of their first 21 games at home. This game will be the first of five consecutive road games for the Lakers, who are 3-1 on the road this season. . . .Kobe Bryant had 27 points, eight assists and six rebounds in Wednesday's victory over the Jazz. . . .The six points the Lakers held the Jazz to in the fourth quarter tied for the third-fewest in the NBA's shot-clock era.

Jazz vs. Lakers

At EnergySolutions Arena

Time » 7 p.m.

TV/Radio » FSN Utah, 1320 AM, 98.7 FM

Moving on » Team eager to atone for ugly loss in Los Angeles.
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