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Scott D. Pierce: Criticisms of Jazz on TV justified

SHARE Scott D. Pierce: Criticisms of Jazz on TV justified

Was the coverage of the Lakers-Jazz series on TNT and ESPN biased against the Utah team?

Well, there are certainly those who believe that. But then that's what fans of just about every team believe pretty much all the time.

Unless, maybe, you're a Lakers fan. Because coverage of the Lakers is pretty much always of the adoring kind.

But, honestly, given the results of the 4-0 series sweep suffered by the Jazz, how can you possibly complain much about anything that was said on TV?

Was it hard to hear that the Jazz were outplayed? Absolutely, if you're a Jazz fan.

Was it true? Well, it certainly turned out that way.

There were even occasions when the guys on TV gave the Jazz more credit than they deserved. Like when TNT's Charles Barkley, in the midst of Game 4, told viewers, "You don't have to worry about Jerry Sloan's team quitting. They will never quit."

And, in response to a headline in the Salt Lake Tribune declaring, "All hope is lost," Reggie Miller insisted, "You have to understand Jerry Sloan's team is going to fight hard, work hard, cut hard and defend you well. Who cares about what the headline says? The Lakers know that they are in for a dogfight to close out this very tough-minded Jazz team."

Those who cover basketball for a living — not those who cover TV, like yours truly — certainly disagreed with that statement after the series ended. Not just national and Los Angeles-based reporters and commentators, but more than a few Utah-based reporters and commentators, too.

TNT had a reason to want fans to believe that Game 4 might be competitive — you know, getting people to watch the game. But, whatever the reason, TNT's on-air analysts didn't declare the Jazz completely dead after Game 3.

NOT THAT I'M CRITICIZING anyone who did declare that the Lakers-Jazz series was over after Los Angeles took a 3-0 lead.

Even the most ardent fan had to know the Jazz were done at that point. The only question was whether the Utah team would manage to win a game.

It certainly would have ticked local fans off if TNT had declared "all hope is lost" for the Jazz before Game 4.

But wouldn't it have been at least a little bit refreshing if the TV folks had been honest enough to say that?

BARKLEY ON BOOZER: Barkley isn't alone in this, but he did tell viewers that Carlos Boozer "is going to go."

"Clearly the Jazz can't re-sign him. They'll be just as small next year. They are going to have the same team next year and the Lakers aren't going to shrink next year. That would just be stupid. … You don't give Boozer a ton of money and come back with the same front line. The best thing they can do is do a sign and trade."

e-mail: pierce@desnews.com