Stop me if you've heard this one before. The Jazz have one poor quarter. Boozer does jack on either end. The Jazz get down double digits. The backups lead a comeback in the final quarter, only to fall short.
Second verse, same as the first.
Utah is known for their strict liquor laws. It's all watered down. But maybe the legislators need to call a special session to up the alcohol content, because our Booze is weak. See what I did there?
One of our team captains continued his two-month long crapfest. He's the reason we got in the hole early. He picked up two amazingly stupid fouls in the first and was in trouble the whole game. He ended up with only 10 points and 5 boards in just 24 minutes. And it took him 3-11 to score that. Here's a tip. If your guy goes by you or is in front of you for a rebound, get your forearm out of his back. Maybe the league is calling those more now, but you have to adjust to that. I'm still not ready to give up on Boozer, but if this is one of those situations where he comes out after the series and says he's been hurt or some other excuse, I'll be ticked.
And sorry Booze, the AND-1 mantle was passed to Millsap for now. Millsap had three or four such opportunities as he came in to pick up the slack. He shot 7-13 from the field and grabbed 10 boards and finished with 17 points. He did have a blown layup in the fourth that would have cut the lead to 4, but without Paul, the Jazz aren't anywhere near that close.
Williams didn't play well in the first half. And then he realized, "Man, I'm going to have to carry this team again." Unfortunately, his 22 points in the second half weren't enough to bring the Jazz back. He finally started realizing that he could take Fisher any time he wanted to. The highlight of the game came after Boozer got a quick rebound and got it to Williams for the break. Deron was going full speed and didn't stop until he took off from the bottom of the free-throw arc and slammed down a ferocious dunk. Watch the video in the FanShots (coming soon).
You'll look at the box score and think that Kobe lit up Brewer. But Ronnie played excellent defense on #24 all night. The now reigning MVP made tough shot after tough shot. He had a couple of shots that were at ridiculous angles and he was able to kiss them off the glass.
We're still getting karmic payback from Fisher. He would squelch any Jazz run with a huge three-point shot. He was 4-5 from downtown and finished with 22 points. If you're at the game Friday, please, please give him applause. We need to reverse something.
As far as the overall play of the Jazz, they took 101 shots compared to LA's 68. How is that even possible? How can you take 23 more shots and still lose? Well, there's two ways. One is to shoot only 44%. The other is to allow the Lakers to shoot 57%. And the Jazz didn't even play that poorly on D. The Lakers just shot lights out.
But the biggest reason has to be the free-throw discrepancy. LA attempted 43 FTs compared to Utah's 16. For those without calculators, I'll do the math. That's 27 more attempts. And it wasn't even so much the number of attempts as it was the timing of the fouls. Just when the Jazz were getting going, out would come the whistles against the Jazz in successive LA possessions. A classic example of this was when Fisher was running with Memo on a fast break. Memo ducked under the basket and away from Fisher and still got the foul. And when the Lakers were struggling, the refs would bail them out. And I don't know how much contact Deron has to get for a foul to be called. He gets hammered on almost every drive. Doesn't the free throw distance have to be some sort of statistical anomaly?
But despite all that, the Jazz still had a chance to win. It's going to take four good quarters to beat these guys. The Jazz outscored the Lakers by 5 in the final three quarters. The 15 point first quarter deficit was too much, especially on the road.
At the risk of sounding like a first-round Houston fan, the Jazz can still win the next two at home and make this a series again. When you think in terms of winning 4 out of 5, that sounds pretty impossible. But if you think in terms of taking care of business at home, and finding a way to get one on the road, it's not as imposing. But a game 7 in LA, against the NBA's MVP, against a marquee franchise doesn't sound appealing.
- On Deron's dunk, we didn't see a replay until after the game. had that been Kobe, we would have seen it going into and coming back from every commercial break.
- Matt Hapring should never set foot on an NBA court again. I'm with Biased now on this. You have to play CJ. There is no way he could be any worse.
- In both comebacks, there hasn't been that little extra to get us over the hump to tie the game late.
- Andrei, Korver, and Memo played well tonight. Usually when get 40 points from those three, you win the game.