April 22, 2009

Lakers Ward Off Jazz in Game 2

The Utah Jazz played much better basketball in their series against the Los Angeles Lakers, but as the final buzzer sounded, they still found themselves in the losing end of the 119-109 score.

The Lakers now find themselves two games ahead of the Jazz, thanks the Lakers' offense. The Lakers shot 86% from the field in the first quarter en route to a 12-point lead. The Lakers' superb shooting display in the first half kept the Jazz from tying the series, especially when the Jazz responded in the second half.

Kobe Bryant had an efficient 26 points, along with 9 assists and 6 rebounds. Trevor Ariza sustained his surprising start in the playoffs with a perfect shooting clip from beyond the arc (3-for-3) and 9 assists. The Lakers frontline of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum combined for 14-for-22 shooting and six blocks. Shannon Brown is turning out to be the Lakers' super-sub with 12 points and hitting 2 threes.

I see Game 2 as a throwback to the Laker teams of the Shaq-Kobe Dynasty because they were again exposed by a shifty point guard. Before it was Mike Bibby and Tony Parker-- now it's Deron Williams. Williams had a do-it-all game with 35 points, 9 assists and 4 steals and he was complemented by Carlos Boozer (a double-double).

But what makes the game characteristic of the 2008-2009 Lakers is the squandered lead. The Jazz cut the Lakers' 20 point lead to three points late in the fourth quarter until a a few baskets and a Trevor Ariza three-ball sealed the Jazz' fate.

This game was a good test for the Lakers in the playoffs because it showed that they can avoid meltdowns and keep their composure when their opponents inch-in to them. Hopefully, the lessons they learned here in Game 2 will translate to better mental toughness in future games.

"Nastiness" is the buzzword for the series thus far and Game 2 has picked up several notches in the nastiness scale. Who knows how nasty things can get in Utah this April 23.



  1. I just have one question. When is the Kobe going to step up and play? I believe the Lakers can sweep the Jazz but the way they are playing the Jazz are going to wake them up in Salt Lake. I have to don't know what Phil has to do to make them want to dominate these game but it better come quick.

  2. Hi Cori!

    What do you mean step up? Are you referring to his scoring?

  3. Hey Regnard. I want to see a more dominant Kobe. He is playing too much in my opinion as point guard rather than an SG and SF. His scoring is low and no longer to be fear'd (in my opinion) by teams. I don't like the mentality of him scoring only when he feels the need to play. I know he is Kobe but to not get in a help in the domination of the game early is a risk because he is banking to turn it on when the game is close and teams won't allow that.

  4. Hi Cori!

    I think Kobe is playing in cruise control over-all. At this point against the Jazz, he has been getting help from Ariza and Gasol in the scoring department.

    Perhaps if they reach the Finals again, Kobe can go back to dominating form.

  5. I'm actually working with NBA.com for the playoffs. Here's an interesting [url=http://my.nba.com/thread.jspa?threadID=5800023587]article[/url] with some notes heading in to game 3



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