NBA: Spoiler role suits Jazz
By John Nadel
LOS ANGELES ó Carlos Boozer and the Utah Jazz hope to spoil Kobe Bryantís MVP celebration.
More important, the Jazz hope to even the Western Conference semifinals with the Los Angeles Lakers tonight before the series moves to Salt Lake City for Games 3 and 4.
iIf we can go out there and ruin their party a little bit by getting a victory, that helps us a lot,î Boozer said. iKobe is the MVP. He deserves the trophy. We just want to win the game.î
Bryant will receive the trophy before Game 2 at Staples Center.
He played like an MVP in the series opener, getting 38 points, six rebounds and seven assists in the Lakersí 109-98 victory. He did much of his damage from the free-throw line, making a franchise playoff-record 21 in 23 attempts.
iI donít think anybody has been able to guard Kobe,î Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. iHeís just a great player. He can shoot the ball long range, he can shoot the 3-pointers way out past the 3-point line, he can put the ball on the floor. You come running at him and he catches you (by surprise). Itís hard to go double-team him and keep him from doing everything he wants to do.î