You've made your bed, now lie in it
You get what you play for. Too many missed opportunities to count. And now the Jazz will have to go up against the team that nobody wanted to face.
Maybe I've talked myself into it or maybe I'm crazy, I'm excited for this series. Either the Jazz pull off one of the greatest first-round upsets of all time or we're that much closer to an off-season where we can fix this team.
The other thing that has be a bit giddy is Deron Williams. He turns it up a notch against the Lakers and has some fantastic games. What surprised me was this comment that he made to Ross Siler:
The Jazz probably will need even more from Deron Williams than the 25 points and 13 assists he had Tuesday. Williams did everything to try to shoulder the load for the Jazz, including a spectacular dunk down the lane in the third quarter.
"I'm going to have to from the start," Williams said when asked about taking over. "Just try to do it all." He didn't disagree when I tossed out 30 points and 15 assists as one target number for that.
You don't ever hear that. It's normally something along the lines of having confidence in his teammates and running the offense and such. He didn't say anything against those things directly, but you could see it in his face all night that he knew he was going to have to be a little more one on one to give the Jazz a chance.
My favorite part of the night was not the spectacular driving dunk over Bynum and Gasol after crossing up Fisher, it was the pick across the lane when he gave a shoulder into Bynum. This came after Bynum had hacked Deron on the head on a drive and didn't get a call (a recurring theme). It resulted in an offensive foul obviously but it sent a message. Unfortunately, it also got Kobe fired up after he and Deron got into it. He helped the Lakers pull away from the Jazz late in the third and the beginning of the fourth.
So instead of the Lakers starters sitting on the bench while the Jazz finished off the second team in a win, they were able to rest almost the entire fourht quarter and when the lead got down to 11, they still didn't come back in. Kobe also sat most of the second with foul trouble so he'll be good and rested.
If Memo had been available, would it have made difference in the game? Maybe. He would have spread the floor for the Jazz and kept Bynum or Gasol out of the middle. Deron's pick and rolls with Jarron Collins weren't productive as the Lakers could just collapse on DWill and force him to kick it back out to Collins. Memo probably would have been able to give a little more resistance on the defensive end as well against the two 7 footers.
The Jazz had actually played pretty well up to about the 3 minute mark in the third quarter. They were getting to the line, they were creating turnovers, and Deron was doing his thing.
AK made a lot of mental mistakes that resulted in 6 turnovers and and unexcused foul on Kobe while he was 30 feet from the basket with just a few ticks on the clock. He tried to poke the ball away and got called for the reach and sent Kobe to the line. He tries to do too much. He's a fantastic passer but maybe he thinks they get additional points for degrees of difficulty. Maybe he had some Russian gymnastics judging ingrained in him when he was young.
Even if it was a clean play, you have to know by now that Kobe is going to get that call. He had been getting calls the entire third quarter. It's not fair, but you know that's going to happen. Kobe could have dribbled the ball off of his foot and they would have called it on the Jazz.
The other highlight we got last night was the brief appearance by Kyrylo Fesenko. In addition to his size he has that naivety that would preclude him from the mental block that most of the rest of the team has. More importantly, he played with a lot of urgency as this might be his one fleeting moment to get some PT in the upcoming series.
For the past couple of weeks it's seemed inevitable that the Jazz were headed to a first round match-up with the Lakers. They couldn't get the wins they needed avoid the 8 spot. As we've seen all season long, the Jazz have had to take care of business themselves because they never got any help from other teams. That's how it should be really.
It would be something else if we were a match-up problem for Lakers, but we're not. They're the worst possible match-up for us and it would take a miraculous effort to pull out a win in LA let alone the series.
That said, bring on the Lakers. If we go down, I just hope we go down fighting.
More playoff stuff coming...