What's it going to take to get a good first quarter out of these guys?
It's frustrating to see the Jazz give it up in the first and second quarter of these games (even going back to last year's playoffs) to have them fight back and close the lead only to come up short again.
But I like how they've played in these two games despite the losses. Had we seen these Jazz the last few weeks of the season, we wouldn't be playing LA right now.
The Lakers are very deep but they've also shown that they're human and that they can be beat. If I were a Laker fan (bleeeeeccch, excuse me), I would be worried that my guys build up a huge lead, only to give it away. I would also be nervous that a team like the Jazz, who they're suppose to be blowing out, was able to hang around and get within 3 late in the game on their home court. Oh yeah, and the Jazz were without Memo.
The little train that could couldn't quite get over the 6-point deficit hump until the closing minutes of the game. A Carlos Boozer layup got the Jazz the closest they had been, 106-109, since the first quarter. The Jazz were down as much as 15 with a little less than 11 minutes to go in the game.
After Boozer had stolen the ball from Gasol, the Jazz had a chance to cut it to 1 or to tie it, but a sloppy pass by Korver led to a Lamar Odom bucket that pushed it back to 5.
Even then, the Jazz weren't out of it. They failed to make a point on three straight possessions and a couple of turnovers by Deron Williams blew their last shot at stealing game 2 in LA.
Deron had 7 turnovers, but without him, we're not even in this game. He had a ridiculous 35 & 9 along with 4 steals and 2 blocks. He had six three pointers and shot the ball the best I've seen in a bit. Had the Jazz pulled out the W, he would have been leading the highlights. Okay, maybe not. LA still would have got all the screen time.
If the Jazz are to win, they have to find a way to stop Gasol and Odom. They combined for 17/20 shooting and 42 points. You can't do much if that's going to happen. And when Ariza adds 3 timely threes, you're in trouble.
I hope this team isn't filling me with false hope. With the way they've played, there's no reason why they shouldn't win the next two games at home. WIth Memo and the ESA, that should give them enough advantage to win the next two. If that's the case, it's a best of 3 and anything can happen there. Granted, you have 2 of the games in LA, but if the Jazz can somehow manage to not get blown out in the first and second quarters, they have enough stamina and depth to make a serious run in the second half.
Let's take a look at some of the other performances:
- AK - Played solid. He was only -2 on the game. He took only 3 shots and made 2 of them. He also had 6 FTs. I'll take this AK over what we've got recently from him.
- Boozer - 20 & 10 on offense, not so good on defense. Pau Gasol abused him all night long and especially in the first half.
Ronnie B - 14 points but 5-12 shooting. He wasn't knocking down the jumpers, but he was playing some pretty solid D on Kobe last night. Here's Ronnie's shot chart:
- KK - 12 points, 3 assists, and one killer turnover.
- Millsap - He held his own with 13 & 7 on offense. He couldn't stop Pau or Odom either.
- Shannon Brown, Trevor Ariza, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol - Pick one and stop them. Even if two of them have big nights, we're still in it. But when everyone is hitting shots like they were, it's amazing that we were as close as we were.
- 60% - That's what the Lakers shot for most of the game. If the Jr. Jazz shoots that against you, it's going to be a hard night.
Kobe- Huge dick. And that's not a compliment. I don't swear much (and we should cut down on it in game threads, review the policy if you don't remember), but I couldn't find another word to describe him. Case in point: When the Jazz were trying to foul to stop the clock late, Millsap and I think Ronnie B were going after him. Just a normal intentional foul situation. Without much contact, Kobe throws an elbow after the foul and gets hit with a T. Since KK missed missed the FT, he got to throw an elbow without any repercussions. Ass. There, there's another word.
I'm looking foward to game 3 at the ESA. It will be rocking with the best fans in the league and I expect to go hoarse yelling at the Lakers all night. I will be in attendance. I was able to score some pretty good seats. I'll be in the first row of the upper bowl.
Until then, thanks to Jeff at CelticsBlog for this video,