Tim Buckley of the Deseret News reports:
It may sound a little like it, arguably even a lot, but they’re not in awe of Kobe Bryant, coach Phil Jackson and the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers.
Really, they’re not, the Jazz insist.
Instead, consider it more of a, ahem, healthy respect for the team that has eliminated them from both of the past two postseasons — and the one against which they open a Western Conference semifinal series this afternoon at the Staples Center.
“They’re a great team; they have one of the best players on the planet ever to play the game,” power forward Carlos Boozer said. “They have one of the best coaches who has ever coached the game. It’s not a secret. They’re champions for a reason. They’re d— good.
“They’re deep; they compete; they’re well-coached; they’re smart; they do a good job of playing to their strengths,” Boozer added. “And they have Kobe. He’s a game-changer.”