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Adelman quick to compliment new era of Jazz

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HOUSTON — Rick Adelman coached against the old-look Jazz, John Stockton- and Karl Malone-style in many an NBA playoff game.

Now, after his Houston Rockets lost to Utah in Saturday night's Game 1 of their first-round Western Conference playoff series, he's had a peek at the new look in postseason play.

That would be the Deron Williams- and Carlos Boozer-style Jazz.

Not totally alike, the former Portland/Golden State/Sacramento coach and current first-year Houston head coach suggested Saturday.

"These guys, maybe because they're a little bit younger and everything else, they're a little more freelance," Adelman said. "And they'll change up on you, which sometimes causes you a problem.

"But John and Karl were so good, they just executed," he added. "You decided what you're gonna do, and they were gonna beat you somewhere else."

Williams, incidentally, had high praise to throw Adelman's way — even though he was still a toddler when Adelman started with the Trail Blazers in 1988.

"He's a great coach," Williams said. "I've been a fan of his system since I was watching the NBA.

"(The Kings) did a lot of cutting, they had a lot of great passers in their system — both big men and guards," the Jazz point guard added. "They (Adelman's teams) just do a good job of executing.

"They're similar to us. They don't just go out and play 1-on-1 a lot.

"They have a system, and they stick to it."

TROUBLE? The hometown Houston Chronicle picked the Jazz to win the series in six games.

"I don't know if that's good for us or bad for us," Williams said. "You know, Houston might be a little upset about that."

HE SAID IT: Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, when asked Saturday morning if the postseason is a fun time of year for him. "Oh yeah — because you know, basically, all your players are going to prepare themselves, and you don't have to beg them to play."

THE COMPUTER SAYS: According to a computer formula from the book "The NBA From Top To Bottom," the Jazz are the No. 3-ranked team in the league this season but are not expected to make it out of the second round of the playoffs.

That's because the author Kyle Wright's formula has Boston ranked No. 1 and the Los Angeles Lakers No. 2, and the Jazz and Lakers are projected to meet in the next round of postseason play.

"The NBA From Top to Bottom" is available online via www.iuniverse.com or www.sportsfromtoptobottom.com.

JVG ENDORSEMENT: Jeff Van Gundy, who exited as Houston's head coach shortly after Utah's first-round Game 7 victory over the Rockets last year, works now as an NBA analyst for ABC and ESPN.

Van Gundy has said he wants to coach again — but not next season.

The former Knicks coach also gave an endorsement for his old job in New York to leading candidate Mark Jackson, the ex-Knicks and former Jazz point guard who now is Van Gundy's ABC/ESPN colleague.

Jackson, meanwhile, issued a statement Saturday about the vacancy, saying, "The New York Knicks are one of the most storied franchises in all of sports and I am honored (new Knicks basketball boss) Donnie Walsh has mentioned my name as a candidate. Coaching has always intrigued me."

When Isiah Thomas lost the Knicks job this week, incidentally, the change became the 200th among NBA coaches since Sloan started coaching the Jazz in 1988.

MOVE OVER, BOOZER? According to Washington Post Wizards beat writer Ivan Carter, "I can say this for sure: DeShawn Stevenson is the most hated man in Cleveland."

The ex-Jazz guard, whose Wizards are facing Cleveland in a first-round Eastern Conference series, has a running war of words going with Cavs star LeBron James.

E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com