Upon stepping foot on Utah’s home court, it was obvious that the battle was mostly with the overzealous Jazz fans. “Hostile crowd” was a common phrase throughout our romp in Utah, but as passionate as fans can get for the home team, it doesn’t mean anything if you can’t step up and play the game.
After a disappointing defeat in Game 3, the Lakers came back with intensity to overcome the Jazz’s aggressive audience and head home for Game 5.
The Zen Master made a significant change in the line-up by starting Lamar Odom for Game 5 and Game 6 over Andrew Bynum, a good choice considering the fact that Bynum is definitely not at 100% yet. His average field goal percentage in the series against the Jazz was weak (a big man averaging only 5 points per game is not a good sign, especially in post-season), while Odom was averaging a double-double per game.
Although bringing Odom to the starting line for Game 4 and Game 5 might have been mere strategy, it will give Bynum the rest he needs to heal fully, so that when we head to the next series, Lamar can facilitate further for the bench, and Bynum can continue with Pau down low for some Twin Towers mayhem (you know you’re excited for Bynum to be back at his best).
The loss of Luke Walton indefinitely to a torn ligament, will call for Josh Powell (the last time he made over 5 points was in Game 1 against the Jazz where he had 6) and Sasha Vujacic to swing it into high gear. Sasha’s performance has slowly been excelling over the past couple games, but he is still taking more bad looks than good ones.
In Game 1 and Game 2, Sasha had no points whatsoever, while in Games 3-5, Sasha did contribute offensively, but his field goal percentage was questionable (1-5, 3-9, and 2-10). His defensive skills are full of enthusiasm, but too much at times, which usually results in unnecessary fouls and easy penalty shots for our opponents.
The last paragraph, I have reserved for Kobe. As much as all the haters would like to view him as a ball hog and whatnot, this team wouldn’t be what they are without him. The Black Mamba went in for the kill in Game 4 and Game 5, with over 30 points each game. His ability to switch between being the main offensive force and the facilitator has become more and more apparent with each match-up we rumble through.
Everybody’s been telling me lately to look out for Lebron, but you know what? I’m pretty sure Kobe could take Lebron anytime, anywhere, any day. Bring it, Cavs, I’d like to see you try.