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SALT LAKE CITY — The Jazz are four games over .500, they have won 8 of their last 11 and are getting hot at the right time, but it really doesn't seem like they are getting any respect.
The Jazz have lost to the Lakers in Los Angeles to help them get on track and held on for dear life to beat the Pacers in overtime, but neither team seems to be giving them much credit.
While the Jazz might not the great marquee team they once were they are certainly a formidable team. The Jazz struggled against the Lakers in their 102-84 loss. The Lakers had to win the game to start to salvage their season. A loss could have crippled them, they played hungry and got the win.
The talk after the game was that the Lakers were back on track. The Lakers proved dominant against a good team. ESPNLosAngeles' Dave McMenamin wrote about what the win means to the Lakers, "Don't plan the parade down Figueroa Street just yet. The Lakers are still seven games under .500 at 18-25. They still have a lot of work to do, but they proved they could sustain some serious team turmoil and still come together with a dominating performance."
A dominating win for the Lakers, but now it seems it was a game against a team that didn't deserve to play with them. The Jazz game went from a huge win to a little blip on their eventual championship run after they beat the Thunder on Sunday.
The Lakers won a big home game against the Thunder 105-96 and suddenly the Lakers were again ready for the big time.
Kobe Bryant was ready to talk about where the Lakers were. After the Jazz game Bryant simply said, "I just enjoy winning."
But once a better team came along Bryant said, "It feels good to finally beat a team that's worth a (expletive)."
It feels good to finally beat a team that's worth a (expletive).
–Kobe Bryant, referring to the Thunder, not the Jazz
Now, this isn't comparing the Thunder and the Jazz, but it is showing what others might really think about the Jazz.
Granted this might be Bryant a little over excited after a big game, Bryant is usually very respectful of the Jazz. Then Dwight Howard said, "I think this is our first win over a good team, right?" That is according to Darnell Mayberry's Twitter account.
If Howard can't remember two nights ago he might have a few problems. Ultimately it is two players just not worried about the Jazz.
Then the Jazz battled against the Pacers on Saturday. The Pacers are a good team, they are fifth in the Eastern Conference and one of the best defensive teams in the league.
The game was pushed into overtime and the Jazz ultimately prevailed 114-110. The game ended with a wild call where Paul Millsap threw an inbounds pass off the side of the backboard that eventually bounced back to Millsap who was able to ice the game.
After the game Pacers were still angry about what they believed was a bad call, but in the end most of the players talked about how they shouldn't be in that position at all.
Nathan S. of the Pacers SBNation site Indy Cornrows, talked about how the Pacers should feel, "The outraged fan wants blood for the erroneous inbounds play with two seconds left in overtime despite the official ruling suggesting the call was correct, the levelheaded fan wants to point out the Pacers shouldn't have been in the position to need the refs to make the correct call in order to decide the game."
This is more about them having chances to win and expecting to win than disrespect for the Jazz. However, the Jazz at home are still not getting the benefit of the doubt against teams.
"Physics clearly states an object stays in motion unless something hits it," Roy Hibbert said about the play. "Something hit it and it should have been out of bounds. I went to college and I got a degree. I don't know about some of these other guys."
Earlier this year fans were upset about Al Jefferson saying he wasn't upset about a big loss on the road. The Jazz lost to the Thunder on the road and Jefferson wasn't too broken up. The Pacers played an amazing final minutes to get back in the game that wasn't that close and get into overtime. But at the end of the night the Pacers still thought they should have won.
During the Jazz's great seasons the Pacers would have probably been okay forcing overtime. The Jazz shot 53 percent, 23 of 26 from free throws and 17 steals. Few games will be that close when those numbers come up.
There is nothing wrong with believing your team is better. But when a team comes out and talks this candidly it seems like there is something missing.
The Jazz are still searching for respect. Lakers don't seem to be giving it to them despite winning two of three and the Pacers are using Newton to explain their loss.
Respect is earned. It takes time, but the Jazz seem to be on their way to earning it.