Usually when you out-rebound a team 25-8 on the offensive boards you win the game, you know that, I know that, Boozer knows that. That’s probably why, as Jonathan Abrams wrote so expertly in his article for the LA Times, he still sounded confused when giving his interview after practice on Monday.
On Bryant’s free throws and stopping him from getting to the line, Boozer said at Monday’s practice…
“I think we have to send more people at him. Try to make some other people score as opposed to having Kobe shoot the ball. We know he’s a great player. We all know that. But him shooting 23 free throws hurts us.”
OK. And later, on defending Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom…
“We do a good job of defending [them] one on one. But the problem with Lamar and Pau isn’t guarding them one on one, it’s helping out with Kobe, that’s when they get all their stuff because he draws so much attention.”
So, the Jazz can either send the house at Bryant and try to stop him and free up space for others. Or let Bryant go to work — from the floor or the free-throw line”
Oh, in other news, Coby Karl was NOT named MVP, just in case anyone was confused.
Marquee Matchups -
Point Guard – Derek Fisher and Jordan Farmar vs. Deron Williams: What happened to Jordan Farmar? His shooting has become inconsistent, his drives to the basket non-existent, and in general his play has been shoddy for about a month now. The good thing is, that Fisher is still able to play at a high level, the bad news is that he’s having to play way too many minutes, as Phil wasn’t confident enough in Farmar to give him even ten of Fisher’s minutes.
Hopefully, Fisher’s joking comments about his success in guarding Williams aren’t true, because otherwise this match up could get ugly. But even if Fisher continues to defend Williams well, you have to expect a better shooting game from the Jazz point guard, which will in turn open up the rest of his game.
Shooting Guard – Kobe Bryant vs. Ronnie Brewer: I don’t know how many fouls Kobe drew in Game 1 but the boxscore shows that AK-47 and Boozer both fouled out while Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver each had 5 fouls. His ability to change directions almost instantly on the perimeter seems to go hand-in-hand with his ability to read double teams expertly. Together, those skills spell B-A-I-L O-U-T D-E-F-E-N-S-E, and until the Jazz show that they can adjust their defense to accommodate Kobe Bryant, the MVP of the NBA (doesn’t that sound good?) will probably still get to the line, get to the paint, get the ball to his open teammates, and get the win.
- Go to either corner.
- Stay behind the 3-point line.
- Shoot lights out (but as if the lights were on… i.e. No air-balls).
Or 1 of 3 thing on the defensive end…
- Shower-inducing hard, but clean, foul on the said AK-47.
- Successfully cuss him out in Russian to the point of tears.
- Brag about the one day a year he gets to spend with AK-47′s wife.
Personally, I’ll take the offensive productivity.
Power Forward – Lamar Odom vs. Carlos Boozer: Lamar, along with Kobe will have to be really aggressive offensively against Boozer, because he tends to commit dumb fouls almost as much as Odom does and it only takes two of those before he’s out of the game in the first quarter. On the other hand, Boozer is looking to reach his regular season averages for the first time all Post-Season, so this match up could go either way.
- I know that profanity isn’t allowed on TLN, but honestly, how the fruit plucking, four-eyed funky monkey does Okur go off for 19 rebounds? How? That shouldn’t happen in the D-League Pre-Season, let alone the NBA Playoffs.
- Even though Pau failed to box out Okur, he must have been doing something right, as his +/- was a game high +16 (Luke was second with +9).
- Despite looking like he got out-muscled all night, he still shot really well from the floor at 8-13.
Kyle Korver is the X-factor for the Jazz, but you didn’t need me to tell you that.
One of the really nice things I noticed about the game was that Luke and Matt Harpring were going at it. This is great news for the Lakers, as it means that Harpring won’t be going after Kobe.
Sasha really seems to be taking controlled shots and has become invaluable off the bench, and I expect he’ll play a deciding role in this game, before it’s all said and done.
Statistical Predictions -
Alright, I’m going to keep track of statistical predictions for the Post-Season!
Here’s how it works, copy and paste the below and enter your picks instead, closest prediction wins. Posts will only be accepted before the game starts, in this case 7:00pm PST.
20+ Points: Kobe and Gasol.
10+ Rebounds: Lamar and Gasol.
2+ Blocks: Kobe, Gasol, Turiaf.
3+ 3pointers: Sasha.
Closest To A Triple-Double*: Kobe.
Point Margin: Lakers by 14.
Out On A Limb: all 5 Jazz starters foul out
* a 20/10/6 will be considered closer than a 20/7/7 because player A is only short 4 assists while player B is short 3 rebounds and 3 assists, or 6 stat points in total, as opposed to 4 for plater A.
Game Information -
Radio: KLAC & KWKW.
Burning Questions -
4 games or 5?
Can we afford to keep losing the rebounding battle?
What’s wrong with Farmar?
Let’s win this for Fisher!