The Jazz found it amusing that John Stockton was named to the NBA's All-Defensive second team, considering the midseason criticism of the veteran point guard for his alleged defensive weaknesses.

You'll recall that certain media types tsk-tsked over Stockton's obvious age-induced slippage back in December and January, after three opposing point guard had lit Utah up for 30-plus point games.Jazz coaches declared then that those games reflected faults in team defense more than any failings of Stockton, but of course, they couldn't fool the media with that line.

And if the media voted for this award, you can bet Stockton wouldn't have received many votes. But the league wisely leaves this one up to the coaches, and they picked Stockton - who has also been branded one of the league's dirtiest players.

Jazz assistant coach Gordon Chiesa says the coaches' vote gives this honor real credibility.

"When the coaches vote, they know what they're talking about," he said. "It takes a trained eye to recognize good defense. We study the films, we break games down. Those few games back in December were all out of context. We weren't playing good team defense then."

Chiesa said one need only look at the other nine players named to the two defensive teams to realize the coaches knew what they were doing.

GROUCHY JAZZ: The players are getting a little testy while sitting around waiting to see who they'll meet in the second round of the playoffs.

Their practices this week, though closed to the media, reportedly have been spirited and physical.

Asked if they were passionate affairs, Karl Malone said, "I don't think we're at the passion stage right now. We're at the beat-each-other-up-in-practice stage."

Malone, for one, is a little tired of all the practice.

"It's training camp all over again, we just don't have two-a-days," he grumped.

NEW CAREER: Malone made a guest appearance Thursday night on the new sit-com, "Fired Up," during which he sang a song, badly (intentionally). Asked if he had a future in show business, Malone said, "Acting, yeah. Singing, no. I have to break in some kind of way, and that's the part they gave me."

Malone took a lot of heat from his teammates for his awful singing. "They should have gotten me," said Greg Ostertag. "I'd have sounded a lot better."

Adam Keefe's reaction was, "He's a great basketball player."

Malone said his teammates' opinions didn't dampen his enthusiasm. "That's all right," he joked. "They're jealous. Like everything else I do."

SHORT STUFF: Stockton missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday, suffering from what team officials are calling "flu-like symptoms."

Chiesa says Stockton's shooting this season has been an under-reported story: "Fifty-four percent from the floor for a point guard? In today's NBA of Allen Iverson winning rookie of the year for shooting 40 percent? That's incredible."

The latest issue of Jazz's Homecourt Magazine includes an interview during which a youngster, Tyler McCulley, asks assistant coach Phil Johnson: "If Dennis Rodman played for the Jazz, how would you deal with his actions?" Johnson's terse reply: "He will not be on the Jazz."