LOS ANGELES -- The Utah Jazz fell into an 11-point hole in the first quarter, its defense nonexistent in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals, the Lakers having their way in shooting 78.9 percent from the field.
The Jazz fell deeper into that hole, going down by 14 points in the second quarter, the Lakers still doing as they pleased, shooting 60.5 percent at the half.
Though his Jazz team played a better second half and even had a lead in the fourth, Utah Coach Jerry Sloan still questioned his team's "toughness."
That his team outscored the Lakers, 54-51, in the second half was of little solace to Sloan.
That's because the Lakers defeated the Jazz, 104-99, Sunday at Staples Center to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Game 2 is Tuesday night in Los Angeles.
"I just hope that our guys come with enough toughness to withstand their toughness," Sloan said. "They have a terrific team and you learn something by playing against them if you want to make yourself better.
"They will take your nose and stick it in the ground and turn around on their heels on top of you. That's how good they are. And we have to learn to fight through that."
Questioning his team's fortitude is not something Sloan has done lately.
He recognized that he has a young team that's still growing.
Still, Sloan wants more.
"If you want to play in this league and play in the playoffs, you have to be a little bit nasty," Sloan said. "Not hurt anybody, but you've got to not accept getting your nose rubbed in the dirt."
The Jazz made its move in the fourth by executing on offense.
Deron Williams (24 points, eight assists), Carlos Boozer (18 points, 12 rebounds), C.J. Miles (16 points) and Wesley Matthews (14 points) all became more assertive.
The Jazz opened a 93-89 lead on a Matthews reverse layup.
"We got the ball inside a lot more and we got a chance to get back in the game," Boozer said. "That's how we got to start the game."
But the Jazz just couldn't sustain that effort.
The Jazz got outscored, 15-6, the rest of the way.
The key play that hurt the Jazz came when Utah trailed, 96-95, and forced Kobe Bryant into a missed shot.
Lamar Odom wrestled the offensive rebound away from Boozer and scored on a put-back for a 98-95 Lakers lead.
"Offensive rebounds over the top of you, that's kind of disheartening," said Sloan, whose team gave up 10 offensive rebounds to the Lakers, five in the fourth quarter.
The Jazz lost three of four to the Lakers during the regular season by an average of 17.7 points.
But this loss was closer, made that way by a better second-half effort by the Jazz.
"We're not playing to get close," Matthews said. "We're trying to win the game. The outcome wasn't like we expected it to be, but we'll be ready for the next game."