Odom And Gasol Go Godzilla On Utah, Lakers Beat Jazz, 96-81

Hard to write a recap when there really wasn't any silver lining to the game at all.  For whatever reason, when we lose to the Lakers, there's a recurring storyline.  First, we get blown out in the first quarter.  The lead stays pretty much the same for the next two quarters as they play relatively even with the Lakers.  Then there's a fourth-quarter tease where it looks like we're going to make a run but the Lakers make a couple of big shots and we're done.

I always find myself thinking during that fourth quarter spurt, "Where has this been all game?"

There always seems to be a little bit of little brother syndrome when we play the Lakers.  That is, there's some kind of mental block that little brother might have when playing an older brother in basketball.

Last night that big brother syndrome was literal as Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom towered over anyone the Jazz threw at them.  Odom had 25 & 11 along with two blocks.  Gasol had 22 & 19 as well as 4 steals and 5 blocks.  They owned the Jazz and there wasn't anyone or anything we could throw at them to slow them down.  AK had some success given his length, but that's not a long-term solution.

On the other side of little brother syndrome is big brother syndrome.  This is where you have a mental edge playing over your little brother even if you're not as good as him.  I'm not saying of course that the Jazz are better than the Lakers, it's just that LA seems to relish playing Utah.  Kobe has always had a little extra motivation for beating the Jazz and while he didn't play last night, I think it applies to the whole team.  Maybe if Derek Fisher isn't with the team next year they lose a bit of that.

As ugly as this game was and a loss is always multiplied when it's against the Lakers, I'm going to try to not let this loss wipe out the recent success.  It does mean we have a lot of work to do if we're going to continue to contend as that if we have any success in the playoffs, we're going to have to go through LA at some point.  We're going to have to find a way to beat them, something nobody really can do right now, especially over a seven-game series.

If there's anything to take away from this game, other than Ronnie Price almost making Sasha Vujacic cry, is that we knew a loss was coming sooner than later.  Here's why the loss is a good thing.  I think a lot of us have had in the back of our minds the notion that while the Jazz have been as hot as they come, is it just fool's gold?  Are we going to see another collapse come this year?  Given the way the past few seasons have ended, it's not an outrageous thought.

So here's why it's a good thing; we're going to see just how the Jazz come back after this loss.  They have four in a row on the road coming up after the break.  What team are we going to see?  Are they going to be able to forget this loss and try to start a new streak?  What if they lose the next two games as well?  I don't wish for any losses, but if they lose a couple it wouldn't be the worst thing to happen.  I want to know if this 12-2 run is for real or if things are going to even out later.  The next four games should tell us quite a bit about this team.

It's a good thing that there's an All-star break for fans as well.  We might not be heading to Cabo for fish tacos, but I think we can use a break from meaningful games for a bit, get recharged, forget the last game, and start the second half of  the season optimistically, however misguided.

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