TLN’s Playoff Preview: Lakers vs. Jazz [Game 1]

This feels a little strange. Is this a dream? Kobe Bryant will be named the league’s Most Valuable Player Sunday afternoon prior to the Lakers beginning their second round playoff series. A year ago, that sentence is almost as improbable as: Tim Duncan killed and then ate a baby. Okay, not quite that insane, but shocking nonetheless.

All giddiness aside, Round 2 commences with the Lakers meeting a Utah Jazz squad that just bounced the Houston Rockets in 6 games on Friday evening. A Utah Jazz team whose disparity between home and away during the regular season is shocking to say the least. Home: 37-4 Away:17-24. A Utah Jazz team that fields a frontcourt more worthy of Grand Theft Auto IV than the NBA (Mehmet Okur, Carlos Boozer and Andrei Kirilenko, ah, Liberty City’s finest).

The Lakers come in, nearly a week removed from Game 4 in Denver, rested and ready for what promises to be much less of a cake walk than Round 1.

VarsityOptimism’s Prediction -

Lakers in five. Mayyyyyyyyybe six.

Playoff Update! -

As much of a dream as it is in Lakerland, it’s a nightmare in Boston. While the Lakers dispensed with their 8th Seeded opponent in four short games, the C’s have been taken to the brink by the 37-win Atlanta Hawks, and frankly the Celtics look exposed. They look like they waltzed into these Playoffs with a giant sense of entitlement and they are now a mere 48 minutes from elimination. Will the ‘fro of Josh Childress and the backne of Zaza Pachulia really bring down the mighty Celtics? Not likely, but it will sure as heck be entertaining… or a massacre. No real grey area in this Game 7.

Television -

National: ABC

Radio -

Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)

Utah: KFNZ All-Sports 1320 AM (Ron Boone & Rod Hundley)

Injuries -

Lakers:

  • Out: A. Bynum (Knee), T. Ariza (Foot)
  • Will Play: K. Bryant (Pinkie), D. Fisher (Foot)

Storylines -

Battle of the Shaggy Haired White Dudes: Each team fields a 3-Point assassin with flowing locks. Sasha vs. Kyle Korver. Epic.

MISSION: UTAH – I am pleased to announce the Lakers Nation is going to Utah for Game 3! Stay tuned, more information Monday!

  • Kobe08-09

    7 out of the 5 starters have been arrested for possession of marijuana.

    and Lakers in 5 or 6

  • Luke4Lvp

    fish and jordan need to lock up dwill. lakers in 5

  • domz

    This time, we need to play the same D we had against the Spurs the last time we faced them. And surely, we’ll be advanced!!! Kobe as the MVP, will surely be so delighted and inspired. I hope he wont be stopped by the Jazz!!! I believe we can beat the Jazz in their homecourt. So GO Lakers Nation, go to utah and infiltrate their homecourt.

    Lakers in 4!!!
    GOODLUCK LAKERS!!!
    BEAT UTAH!!!

  • Phant0M

    We got this.
    Lets GOOO..

    WINN!

    -Phantomified

  • Sbehm

    I think this team will be a bigger struggle for the lakers than most people think. The Jazz match up with the lakers very well, and play some tenacious d (no not the music) Mehmet Okur has been huge for the Jazz, and has been known to hit a lot of big three’s in his career. Boozer is tuff inside and they have a couple of great defenders in Kirilenko and Harpring. Not to mention one of the most talented up and coming (or already here)point guards in Deron williams. I do think it will be Lakers in 6. I live in Utah so I get a lot of hecklers here trying to give me crap, but all I have to do is ask them one question. Where’s your championship?

  • lakerschamps08

    ohh yea this is gonna be a hard tough series we all want us in 5 but prolly goes us in 6 which is fine… go lakers

  • George

    I hope the Lakers win in 5, but they really need to win the 1st 2 games @ home

  • matthew

    WE MUUUSSSTTT WIN AT LEAST ONE GAME IN UTAH TO WIN THIS SERIES

  • Alex

    ariza isnt out, hes already practicing

  • Sopi

    lakers in 5
    win 2
    lose 1
    win next 2
    move on to face spurs(in 6)

    GO LAKERS!

  • http://nba.com kobeLOpAuBYNUm

    oh com’on

    lakers and NO not spurs

  • Brett

    To Sbehm- i live in utah as well. I think i’m gonna try to go to the game, you know of any good deals on tickets? (WHERE’S THE CHAMPIONSHIP BANNER JAZZ?) Haha, you gotta love it baby. Go Lakers!

  • mihaithemiraculous

    We have three players better then the jazz starting 5, kobe is better then any SG in the league, lamar is better then kiralenko, and gasol is better then okur, we wont have a problem with boozer because odom can defend him, buy deron williams will be a problem for D-fish. Derek Fisher has some great D, he even leads the league in charges taken, but hes really gonna have to step up to stop Deron Williams.
    My only fear is that they play the pick and roll, which the lakers have had problems defending for years, but seem to have regained some composure lately. Lakers in 6, this is going to be an entertaining series.

  • BringDFishBack

    I havn’t really seen the Jazz play much this year, but here’s how I see what is going to happen. First, Odom needs to come up huge. That could be the deciding factor of the series, and if he doesn’t I wouldn’t be shocked at all. This is one of the defining moments for me as to if he really has changed since Pau came, or it is just one of those steaks of his. If he can play solid D on Boozer and find open looks on offense, that’s a huge step foward for him and just maybe he will consistently play how he has been for at least a few years. One thing that I find interesting is how the Jazz will matchup with the Lakers. Im pretty sure Odom will be on Boozer and Pau on Okur, but will it be the same when they are defending the Lakers? I really don’t think Okur can even slow Pau down, so do they go Boozer on Pau and give up height and then put Okur on Odom and give up speed? Personally I think their best bet is Boozer on Pau, AK47 on Odom and Okur on Vladi. Still I think that works in the Lakers favor because of the significant height advantage for Pau. They’ll also throw extra defenders in that situation which should allow guys to get open layups/dunks and also 3s. The bench will be huge in this series. They were not very effecitve against the Nuggets, but that is because the bench plays a running offense, which just plays to the Nuggets advantage. However, the Jazz love to play half court pick and roll offense. Im going to say the bench will average about 45 ppg during this series. If Ariza comes back all the better. Hopefully Turiaf is back to his normal self and I hope that rest really helped him. Also, do not look for Luke to be as effective as he was last series unless he has a mismatch again. I don’t know who they’ll match up with him. I expect around 12/5/5 each game.

    The one thing the Lakers need to know how to defend is the pick and roll. I am hoping with their big, quick lineup they can do a good or at least decent job. Whoever is on the floor HAVE to be on the same page and know when to and how to rotate. Pau, Odom, and Vladi need to be especially good at rotating. They have an advantage in basically being able to switch anything, so hopefully that helps. This is another place where having Fish comes into play. He knows how to handle the situation and can call out what is going on and who needs to be where. Not to mention Kobe will do this too and Phil will make sure everyone is knowing what they are doing, but I mention Fish because he is just such a big improvement over Smush.

    The Lakers could run away with this series or it could stay very close. It all starts at the defensive end and defending the pick and roll. If they can do that, I think they’ll be fine.

    BTW, everyone needs to remember how the fans treated Fish. Kobe had it out for them personally last time, and I hope that anger is still there for him and the rest of the team.

  • BringDFishBack

    [b]REMEMBER HOW THEY TREATED FISH, DOWN WITH THE JAZZ!![/b]

  • http://lakers.topbuzz.com Lakers2410

    Keys to this series between Lakers-Jazz:
    Rebounding will kill us if we don’t do it, but we need Gasol and Odom to get at least 8 rebounds from both of them and get a ton of defensive rebounds and stop the Jazz from getting any second chance points.

    If the Lakers can somehow make Deron a scorer and not a playmaker then we’ll win for sure! I think we’ll need Kobe on D-Will, I don’t think Fisher can handle him also because he has an injured foot.

    Those are basically the two things we need to do in order to not have a Game 6. I doubt we’ll sweep, but a 5 game series with us as the victors suits me just fine, including we’ll be well-rested enough to go against the Spurs (I’m not even going to mention the Hornets, I mean, no offense to them, but seriously, Hornets beating the Spurs? That’s illogical, right?). Also I think we’ll have Ariza back by Mid-2nd Round probably at best, but you never know, they might end up saving him for Ginobili, as for Bynum, well, let’s just say he’s in a better place than on the floor (on his bed).

  • 8KB24LAL

    cant wait to see Farmar play stellar again, he’s averaged some nice numbers against the Jazz this season.

    PS. cant let Paul Millsap score more than 12

  • Fairweather Fatty

    I think the toughest team will win.

    Which of course is the Lakers.

    http://tinyurl.com/6xj8ql

  • http://lakers.com Mamba-Pau-Andy-l.o.-fish

    the lakers have the worst training staff
    lets look at the injuries

    http://theassociation.blogs.com/the_association/2008/03/the-lakers-have.html

    2002-03
    Rick Fox (made him miss 67 games the next season)

    2003-04
    Karl Malone
    Shaq
    Kobe

    2004-05
    Devean George
    Vlade Divac
    Kobe
    Lamar
    Mihm

    2005-06
    Chris Mihm

    2006-07
    Lamar odom knee
    lamar odom Shoulder
    Kwame Brown
    luke walton
    smush parker

    2007-08

    Lamar odom (shoulder surgery)
    Kobe Bryant (groin tendonitic, dislocated pinkie)
    Andrew bynum
    Pau gasol
    Sasha Vujacic
    derek fisher (heel)
    Vlad
    luke
    trevor
    mihm
    DJ MBenga

    Farmar and Ronny are the only ones on the team who haven’t gotten injured

  • http://lakers.com ronny-farmar-sasha-ariza the laker bench

    also we will need to see DJ play some excellent d-fense
    DIkembe mutumbo and DJ are from the same country, and dikembe shut down boozer

  • ICE CREAM MAN

    We all know our starters can hold there own. If we are to win this series, our bench needs to contribute tremendously. Benga needs to go in and continue playing the way he played againns Denver. Farmar and Sasha need to also step it up at least 20 points between them and Luke with at least 12 points per game and we got this.

  • youknowwhatitis

    regular season record:

    Lakers 3 – Utah 1

    you know what it is
    5 games, we close it out on our home court…unless the lakers pull off another sweep

  • BringDFishBack

    20+ Points: Kobe, Gasol, Farmar

    10+ Rebounds: Lamar.

    2+ Blocks: Mbenga, Pau.

    3+ 3-Pointers: Farmar, Fisher.

    Closest To A Triple-Double*: Luke.

    Point Margin: Lakers by 4.

    Out On A Limb: The fans at Staples Center imitate those in Utah and boo Fish, which gets Kobe angry and he goes off for 82.

  • BringDFishBack

    Stern is in Boston for that game, so Kobe will not get his MVP today like you said.