Despite getting beat last year 4-2 in the second round series vs. the Lakers we were in striking distance going into the fourth quarter in each of the games we lost save game 6. That game though was when the Jazz made the furious comeback in the fourth and had a couple of good looks at a three that would have tied it up.
Here are the scores from each of those losses. The quarter line has how much we were ahead or behind for that specific quarter. The Total line is the running lead or deficit for the game:
In game 1, the Jazz shot a putrid 38%. They hung with the Lakers in the first quarter, got way behind in the second, and yet still were only down 7 to start the fourth.
Stop me if you've heard this one before. In game 2, the Jazz got off to a horrible start but played ahead for the rest of the game. While they would get close a couple of times, they could never get over the hump and take the lead.
Game 5 was probably our best chance at stealing one at LA. Had the Jazz won that game, they could have been coming home with a chance to wrap it up at home instead of getting blown out for 45 minutes. The Jazz were tied going into the fourth quarter. With 1:17 left, the Jazz were down just 1, 103-102. Gasol made a jumper and had an offensive putback after a three-point attempt that gave the Lakers the win.
In game 6 we saw a dejected Jazz team that got crushed early and despite a valiant comeback effort, they fell short when Korver passed on an open three that would have tied it.
I don't bring this up to add another layer of misery to the season. Winning in LA isn't expected but it's not totally out of the question either.
Carlos Boozer shot only 35.7% last year in the series after shooting almost 55% in the regular season. He put up 46% against the Lakers in the regular season. Had he hit that in the playoffs, that would have been good for another 6 points a game. Who knows what that would have done.
This year is a bit different with Bynum and Gasol having a full year in the system. It will be harder to win there. It will no doubt take close to a perfect game. But if the Jazz hang around until the fourth, maybe they have a shot.