The Lakers have waited a year to get back to the playoffs and come out of them with a different outcome. The Lakers played this season with the single-mindedness of purpose and emerged as one of the leagues best and are prepared to show the world that they’re ready to win it all.
It took a year to get back in position to play for an NBA championship; the Lakers made it there without any regrets. The journey to play for a title starts against the Utah Jazz.
The Lakers beat Utah on Tuesday and in the process made a strong statement with the 125-112 win. The loss was Utah’s sixth straight on the road. The 13-point beat down sent the Jazz and the NBA as a whole a strong message that can be simply translated “we’re healthy, at full strength and in ’09 we will not be denied!”
This match-up places two of the best half-court offenses in the league on display. The Lakers getting everyone involved with their triangle offense and the Jazz incorporating their methodical pick and roll offense led by Deron Williams, one of the best point guards in the league.
The Lakers will 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 don’t have the size to compete with the length of the Lakers front line.
Normally the Jazz run a high or low pick and roll play which makes Deron Williams extremely dangerous going to the basket or setting up one of his teammates for an open jump shot or a cut to the basket.
One difference that we’ll see in this series is Utah getting either Pau or Andrew involved in defending the pick and roll play, with Mehmet Okur stepping out to shoot from behind the arc. This depends on Okur playing which doesn’t look like it will happen in game one.
The Lakers will be led by Kobe & Pau and will use excellent player movement and excellent ball movement and outwork the Jazz. The scary thing is that the Lakers have played well but will turn it up and play better in the playoffs.
Los Angeles will establish Pau in the post and allowing him score and most importantly his passing skills to set the table for the rest of the team. As evidenced by Tuesday’s game Andrew will be a factor aided by passes from Kobe, Pau and Lamar.
On defense limit the Jazz to one shot per possession, control the tempo, glass, get back in transition and rotate out to three point shooters. Work for a high percentage shot on every trip down the court.
Tipoff: 12:00 PM PST
- Los Angeles: ABC
- Utah: ABC
- 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)