The Lakers finish off the regular season tonight with a match-up against a Utah Jazz team that could easily be Los Angeles’ first round opponent. This is the last game of the season for both teams. It isn’t set in stone yet, that will depend on tonight’s game and the Mavericks last game of the season against the Rockets.
Thanks to the Clippers generosity the Jazz were able to end a three-game losing skid and keep hope alive that they can reach the 7th seed. The Jazz received help in their endeavors with the Hornets losing to the Rockets, which dropped New Orleans into a tie for 6th seed with Dallas.
In my opinion it doesn’t matter which team is the first round opponent for the Lakers when it’s over the headline will read that “The Lakers beat down ______ (insert opponent here) in the first round of the playoffs.”
Tonight’s match-up will be a statement game; the Lakers will send a message to the Jazz to inform them that this isn’t their year. The Lakers beat the Jazz 113-100 on 1/2 and lost to them 113-109 on 2/11. The Jazz are a physical team with a lot of screens being set but it will boil down to which team executes their half-court offense better. That team will be the Lakers.
Utah will be trying to avoid their sixth straight road loss to Los Angeles.
The Lakers know that they’ll see a lot of pick and roll plays from the Jazz and some zone defense but the Lakers have seen it all year and will be prepared for it. The Jazz won’t be prepared for the length of the Lakers front line.
The Lakers will establish Pau & Andrew in the low post and allow them to set the table for everyone else. The Lakers are a team on a mission and the Jazz haven’t gotten the memo to get off the tracks while the train is coming.
This game can potentially get ugly and not include a lot of fast breaks but the Lakers will use excellent player movement and excellent ball movement to win. Defensively the team needs to control the tempo, glass, get back in transition and rotate out to three point shooters.
Limit the Jazz to one shot per possession and share the ball to work for a high percentage shot on every trip down the court. No lay ups tonight, attack the rim. As VTB once said I want to see passion on every possession to make the statement loud and clear for the world to hear that the Lakers are here and they’re ready.
Tipoff: 7:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: FS West 1 HD (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Utah: FSN Utah (Craig Bolerjack & Ron Boone)
- Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Utah: KFAN 1320 (“Hot” Rod Hundley )
- None to report.
- C.J. Miles (Dislocated Finger)
- Mehmet Okur(Hamstring)