hugUpon 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.

  • Fan of the Mamba

    “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.”

    Now that’s what I’m talkin ’bout Tatum.

    I’m not denying that Lebron has skills, but he ain’t Kobe Bryant. Kobe Bryant is the best in the world and the world knows it that’s why he’s a mega-star across the globe.

    The things Lebron is doing now, Kobe has done and exceeded. The most 50 point games this season – Lebron. How about 2nd on the all time list of most 50 point games -Kobe. etc., etc.,

    Biggest stat of them all Kobe 3-championships; Lebron- O championships. When Lebron gets 3 then we can start to have a conversation about who’s the best.

    Go Lakers!

  • http://neoshocapital.com Farmabrick

    Bynum will be the swing factor against the Rockets (betting that they win Game 6 in Houston against a Rockets team desperate to avoid returning to the Rose Garden): if he gets into foul trouble guarding Yao, it means bringing in Mbenga (he’ll suit up and Morrison will be in street clothes) and that does wierd things to the rotation.

  • http://www.j-ri.com Jason Riley

    Agreed. :) Bring it Prince James!

  • KONG!

    LeBron is the poster-boy of the NBA just like MJ was. Stern will get him to the finals no matter what.

  • RoRo

    guess what Ron Artest said that Brandon Roy is better than lebron and kobe!

  • Ron

    Obviously Brandon Roy is better…when artest is guarding him…he asks for a screen and switches defenders…artest is drawn to another player and B-Roy takes it to the hole or a Pull up jumper against another player…

    Dont get me wrong B-roy can get 30ppg if he wanted but he would have to earn them…kobe just knows how to get them…he makes 50 and 60 point games look effortless…Lebrons points depend on defense…single coverage he’s getting 30plus…cause hes too big for defenders…his jump shot is still suspect…the only reason lebron has a 50% FG is cause he goes to the rim 90% his FG% outside of 18 ft for the season is about 32%

  • flobe24

    As long as the Lakers keep the core of this team together with Phil they could do another 3 peat and Lebron will have to wait till Kobe retires. Lebron will feel like Barkley, Ewing, Malone, etc. who had to play during Jordan’s dominance. Lebron is definitely the most physically gifted player along with Dwight Howard, but still needs to round his skills to include the lost art of the mid-range game that Kobe now owns. Like Kobe switching his # to 24 he will try to one up Jordan and maybe go for the 4-peat which will give him 7 rings to Jordan’s 6. No one will ever eclipse Jordan, but Kobe and this Laker team will stand next to the all time greats when all is said and done.