Posted by Scott Howard-Cooper
SALT LAKE CITY – “Are these the nastiest people in the NBA?”
A Los Angeles Times columnist, preparing to skewer fans here, posed the question to Lakers coach Phil Jackson before Game 3, at once a question and a statement about Jazz backers.
Not that Jackson ever needs much baiting. But he took this one, sort of, joining the assessment of an EnergySolutions Arena crowd that historically has been loud and supportive of its Jazz but not necessarily, um, polite toward opponents.
“You’ve got a whole contingent of Detroit and Boston and Philadelphia people that rank very high,” Jackson said. “But for our Western comfort and fine hospitality…. Although Portland’s got some people there that have shown their valor.”
He mentioned the writings of Zane Grey and descriptions of Utah and the West that he indicated would still be relevant today.
“They were very vigilant,” Jackson said. “There’s no doubt about it.”
Point made. Diplomatically, but made.