Lakers coach Phil Jackson was asked after the game what caused his team's stalled offense down the stretch. His reply: "The 24-second clock operator."
The Lakers trailed by two with less than a minute to go when Derek Fisher advanced the ball up the court in a transition opportunity.
The referees whistled the play dead because the shot clock was stuck at six seconds. The clock was reset, and the Lakers took the ball out on the sidelines with the Jazz given the chance to set up their defense.
On a previous time down the court, the Jazz had to reset their possession out of bounds in similar fashion, but that came on a play that started out of bounds on the baseline after a Lakers made basket, not a fast-break scenario.
"What was going on there?" Jackson asked after the game. "That stopped a break on our part. ... Fish had a nice rhythm going on a transition with a 3-point deficit, and it stops the ball and starts it out of bounds. It's not right; it's just not right."
Jackson said the officials did not offer him any explanation of what caused the clock malfunction. The Jazz declined comment through a spokesman when asked about the sequence after the game.
Lakers co-captains Fisher and Kobe Bryant downplayed the affect of the clock malfunction on the final score.
"I don't know if that situation really had that much to do with the game," Fisher said, much calmer after the game than he was when the clock trouble originally occurred and he pounded the ball against the court in frustration. "You can pick out certain plays but it was what it was. We probably shouldn't have been in that position in the first place."
Said Bryant: "We had a good run before the defense had a chance to get set and that stopped the play. It happens."
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.