Your Los Angeles Lakers square off against the Jazz to close out the first half of the season in their last game prior to the All-Star break. Some thought of last nights game as a trap game thinking that since this game was the second of back-to-back games, the Lakers would look past the Thunder with Utah in mind. Those people were wrong about the Lakers, again.
The Lakers came out lethargic and appeared disjointed early against the talented young Thunder. Kobe, Pau & Lamar led the way but the Lakers received production from everyone to get the win.
The Thunder had a job to do, although it wasn’t accomplished they came out strong, were competitive despite the fact that their thoughts and prayers were with family members & friends as a cluster of tornadoes touched down 100 miles south of Oklahoma City, claiming 8 lives and destroying 4,600 buildings according to early reports.
The Lakers have shown the resiliency to overcome the loss of Andrew, continue to move forward toward the season long goal of playing for a championship. The Jazz are a talented team, decimated by injuries, trying to go into the break with some momentum.
This is second game of the season against Utah; Kobe dropped 40 points on the Jazz as the Lakers won 113-100 on January 2nd. A win tonight gives the Lakers the tie-breaker over another team.
The Jazz always play the Lakers tough and are still a dangerous team; one that will screen-roll you high and low, back screen and pick and roll you to death. When both teams are healthy this is a match up of two of the leagues best half court offenses.
The match up at the point is always nice to watch, Deron Williams, one of the best young point guards in the NBA going against the seasoned veteran Derek Fisher his former teammate. Williams has picked up the pace for the Jazz and has averaged 33.5 points and 7.8 assists in his last four games according to Stats Inc.
Lamar Odom & Josh Powell boxing out Paul Millsap will be huge. Millsap is a rebounding machine that has elevated his scoring output as a starter.
The Lakers need to protect the ball, execute their offense, go to Pau Gasol in the post early and allow him to attack the rim & set the table for everyone else. Lamar & the second unit need to remain aggressive.
The Lakers have an advantage with their long front line and will win by controlling the tempo, glass, stopping dribble penetration and rotating out to three point shooters.
Tipoff: 6:00 PM PST
- Los Angeles: KCAL TV Channel 9 (Joel Myers & Stu Lanz)
- Utah: FSN Utah (Craig Bolerjack & Ron Boone)
- Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Utah: KFAN 1320 (“Hot” Rod Hundley )
- Andrew Bynum (Knee)
- Andrei Kirilenko (Ankle)
- Carlos Boozer (Knee)