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|Carlos Boozer and Paul Millsap of the Jazz react in the second quarter during Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals.|
"It's hard to say we have a relationship," Fesenko said of his relationship with Sloan. "Sometimes Coach is really harsh on me, but I realize I deserve it. Every player needs to be motivated. He's not trying to offend me; he sees the potential I have and he wants me to get to there. It's Jerry Sloan, Hall of Famer. I can't complain. He was in the NBA when my mom was born, so he probably knows more than me. I saw tapes of him as a player and I wouldn't want to play against him." Of course he doesn't -- that would entail his getting down and dirty in the paint, which we've seen is not Utah's forte. The Lakers not only outscored the Jazz in the paint 64-50, but the Lakers hit 32 of 48 shots in the paint while the Jazz connected on only 25 of 59. The Lakers also outrebounded the Jazz 58-40. Sloan, who was one of the toughest players in the league, knows better than anyone what kind of team he has and he knows their limitations. He almost sounded like a coach simply looking to get his young players experience rather than trying to win the series before the game. "We have to realize who we are," said Sloan. "We got a lot of young guys we're counting on to try and play against Ron Artest, Kobe Bryant and people like that. They're busting their butt and trying their best from my standpoint, but these guys are all-star performers. I've been pleased with the way our guys have tried to play. "They tried hard against Denver and we were fortunate to win that series, and it was great for them. Having a bunch of young guys, it's critical for their development to get to the playoffs and get a chance to see how tough it is and see what the game is all about so they have a chance to get better. And hopefully, if you have the right continuity and keep the group of guys together, maybe the next year you can win four or five more games." Unless the Jazz can grow a few inches or at least play like they've grown a few inches, it looks like they will have to wait until next year to get those extra wins. Arash Markazi is a reporter and columnist for ESPNLosAngeles.com.