All that Jazz…

So the Lakers finally know who they are playing in the second round: The Utah Jazz, which disposed of the Houston Rockets 113-91 Friday night to close out their first-round playoff series in six games.

After four days of waiting, the Lakers have a rather quick turnaround. Game 1 will be Sunday at 12:30 p.m. at Staples Center.

The Lakers went 3-1 against the Jazz this season, including a victory in Salt Lake. That’s no small feat considering the Jazz had the league’s best home record this season.

So who is the happiest to be playing the Jazz?

Hard to say actually. The guys were pretty antsy at practice today.

Joked Jordan Farmar: “For me it doesn’t matter. I think I’ll be alright, but I’m young. Some of the older guys are probably ready to get out there and get started as soon as possible.”

Said the presumptive MVP, Kobe Bryant:

“I hope Utah wins, so I answer some questions about Utah. It gets boring answering all the same old questions.”

Derek Fisher, who played for the Jazz last year and remains close with many of the players on the team, said he’d been pulling for Utah to win in the first round, because of the warm feelings he still has for the organization. But now that Utah is the Lakers next opponent, things have changed.

“I’d be pulling for them again (if they weren’t the Lakers opponent), just because I’m so fond of the organization, the team, the owner, Larry Miller and (general manager) Kevin O’Connor for the blessing they laid at the feet of my family. I’m always going to be thankful, and happy for them and any success they have.

It’s just kind of unfortunate that in the second round, I have to put all those feeling aside and treat them as the enemy, so to speak.”

Fisher said that the Lakers four regular season games against the Jazz, including two in Utah, have helped his transition.

“I think that early season meeting, when the crowd reacted the way it did, I think that was kind of the wake-up that, things are different now, life is changed and people have moved on. That was kind of cleansing, in a sense, and kind of put a closer on emotions that were there.

“There will obviously still be some (emotions), but I don’t think anything that will linger past a normal playoff feeling you’d have in this situation. I think it’ll be bumping up against my former guys for however many games we have to play and try to win to close out the series.”

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Bryant to win MVP award

Reports have been flying around Friday night that Kobe Bryant will win his first MVP award.

The official announcement is expected next week.

It was widely believed to be a close race between Bryant and New Orleans’ Chris Paul. But according to the results of a survey of 31 media members who were part of the 126-person panel, conducted over the past two days by the Daily News, it might not have been that close.

Twenty-four of the 31 people (77 percent) surveyed who voted in the poll said they voted for Bryant. Of the seven who didn’t, six had Bryant second.

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MVP straw poll

Over the past two days, the Daily News conducted a poll of 30 voters who cast ballots for the MVP award. Of those, 23 said they voted for Bryant, while only four picked Chris Paul, two had Kevin Garnett and one had LeBron James.

Of the seven voters who did not vote for Bryant, six had him second on their ballot, and the other had him third.

Paul was picked anywhere from first to fourth but most — 18 of the 30 voters– said they had him second, behind Bryant.

Garnett was picked second on just four ballots and third on 15 ballots. James was fourth on 16 ballots and third on seven ballots.

In total, 126 voters cast votes for the MVP this year, according to an NBA spokesman.

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Is anyone watching this? Boston is in trouble

Wow, just got home and turned on the end of this Celtics-Hawks game. Atlanta is playing lights out, grabbing o-boards, driving, being aggressive.

With three minutes left, Atlanta leads 96-93

Paul Pierce has fouled out for Boston, Atlanta’s Marvin Williams is out with a knee injury

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Trust Issues

Derek Fisher doesn’t have a vote for the NBA’s MVP award, which is usually announced sometime during the second round of the playoffs, but if it were up to him, Kobe Bryant would be the choice.

The biggest difference in Bryant’s game?

“He’s trusted me making big shots,” Fisher said Thursday. “He’s trusted (Pau) Gasol making plays down the stretch. He’s trusted Lamar Odom. He’s trusted (Jordan) Farmar, Sasha (Vujacic), Ronny (Turiaf) and everybody who’s been out there.

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Fisher believes fines on Pierce, Stevenson were “deserved”

Just wanted to call a little extra attention to the story Elliott wrote today on Derek Fisher.

Fisher is the president of the players union. He was asked yesterday whether the stiff fines imposed on Boston’s Paul Pierce and Washington’s DeShawn Stevenson for what the NBA termed, `menacing gestures” were justified.

“I think there’s a very fine line between guys being emotional and passionate about playing a game they love to play and our fans love to watch and support and then kind of teetering over that line and then it becoming a fight or an actual battle instead of a game and a sport,” Fisher said Wednesday. “There’s a fine balance to it, but in those cases I think there was a step beyond.”

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