The Lakers got off to a good start by winning the first game of the series. It wasn’t an easy playoff game, since it appeared that the starters had to win the game twice. The reason for this, you guessed it — once again, the lack of production from the bench. Consequently, the game was close and the Lakers had to grind out another win with the Black Mamba closing the show.
This scenario has played out many times this season and the Lakers have had to grind out way too many victories this season with little or no assistance from the bench. Fortunately, the Purple and Gold have played through pain and have won several games despite the above-mentioned scenario.
The Lakers are champions and are very well-aware of how they need to play to defend their title. The playoffs come down to adjustments, execution, experience, and the ability to wrap these items together in a solid performance on one of the NBA’s brightest stage.
The Jazz have to make the most adjustments. However, the Lakers have several adjustments to make as well.
The Lakers can’t get complacent, they have to be on high alert after being outplayed after a solid first quarter. The Lakers blew a 14-point lead, allowed C.J. Miles, Wes Matthews and Paul Milsap to be major contributors, who combined for 46 points and almost beat them. The major adjustment is making sure that it doesn’t happen again.
The Lakers have to use their height advantage more. The triangle offense provides an answer for whatever challenges the defense presents. They need to establish Andrew Bynum andPau Gasol in the low post and allow them to destroy the Jazz in the painted area. The Lakers have to use the triangle offense to find a high percentage shot going to the basket and stay with that strategy.
They also have to refrain from settling for jump shots, especially three-point shots. Shooting from behind the arc isn’t the team’s strong suit. They will win game two by taking care of the ball, playing solid defense, stopping the dribble penetration of Deron Williams, controlling the tempo of the game, and challenging every Jazz shot. It is a known fact what Kobe and Pau will do everyone else has to raise their level of play.
They have to be on the same page and defend the screen and roll action plays. The Jazz are a team that always does an excellent job of executing. The Lakers need to do a better job of executing using excellent ball movement and excellent player movement to outwork the Jazz. The reserves have to maintain and increase the lead provided to them and cannot allow the Jazz’s reserves to outscore them.
The Lakers will continue to make it tough for the Jazz to score inside due to their length and defense. The Purple and Gold have to be aggressive on both ends of the court and attack the basket early and often. They need to play with a sense of urgency and look to send a message to the Jazz , that “we’re the Champions for a reason and you can’t do anything to change that”.
Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: TNT
- Utah: TNT
- Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Utah: 1320 AM KFAN (David Locke, David James & Patrick Kinehan)
- Ron Artest (Left Heel Bruise/Sprained Left Thumb)
- Shannon Brown (Sprained Right Thumb)
- Kobe Bryant (Avulsion Fracture, Right Index Finger)
- Andrew Bynum (Small Tear in the Meniscus of his Right Knee)
- Sasha Vujacic (Severely Sprained Left Ankle) Out
- Luke Walton (Pinched Nerve, Back)
- Jordan Farmar (Strained Hamstring)
- D.J. Mbenga (Eye Surgery)
- Andrei Kirilenko (Strained Left Calf) Out
- Deron Williams (Bruised Left Elbow)