First Quarter LAL24 – UTA24
The Lakers opened the first with the same defensive intensity that has carried them through this early season 9-game winning streak. With Kobe ball-hawking as usual (don’t hate), the Jazz were forced to turn the ball over early, which contributed to the early Lakers lead. The well-known Wesley Matthews (what?) was on Kobe early, and he went to work. You may even say that Kobe was “doin’ work”. This boggles my mind- after Kobe dominating the NBA for so long, how can you throw Matthews on an island with no help whatsoever? It’s almost a slap in the face to Kobe and I can see why he goes into early Mamba mode. It didn’t take long for the rest of the Lakers to get involved, with Andrew Bynum and his freshly grown ManStache getting some early baskets off good post entry passes. A refreshing change was Bynum not being in Black Hole mode and hitting Pau a few times underneath. He needs to continue to do this to keep the defense off balance, or people are going to start sitting on his post moves. With the teams seemingly outmatched early, it was almost shocking to see the score 14-12 at the halfway point of the quarter- it definitely didn’t feel this close. The rest of the quarter belonged to Pau, who controlled the game defensively, on the glass, and down low on offense. Unfortunately, the Jazz were able to catch up riding the hot hand of Deron Williams.
First Quarter Notes/Highlights:
• Pau’s Play: He had a great block on Boozer, and hustled back downcourt to collect an offensive rebound off a Fisher three. He then threw in a left-handed jump hook over Carlos Boozer. Ridiculous. He had 8 early points and was incredibly active.
• Offensive Efficiency: Lakers shot 8-12 through the first 8 minutes, unfortunately the Jazz kept pace.
Second Quarter LAL24 – UTA28
The beginning of the second quarter was quite possibly the most pathetic start to a quarter in recent memory. The Jazz were able to take an early 5 point lead (31-26) by creating turnovers and outworking the Lakers on the glass. There was a possession where the Jazz were able to get 4 (I believe) offensive boards consecutively and score on a tip in. When Lamar and Andrew are in the game this should NEVER happen, let alone repeated breakdowns in the paint leading to dunks and layups. How is this the same team that started the game? The Jazz did their part and caught fire from the outside, but the Lakers weren’t doing themselves any favors on defense. One disappointing stretch saw two unforced turnovers by Farmar. He has been pretty consistent as of late, so I won’t get on him too much, but you hate to see the bench play this badly. Phil put the starters back in with about half the quarter remaining, and Pau went back to work and helped the Lakers recapture the lead. Honestly, where would our offense be without Pau? As much as I love Andrew, I don’t think he makes the triangle click like Pau. The quarter closed with the Jazz finishing strong and the Lakers going away from what worked (the post). The Jazz are destroying the Lakers on the boards right now and it shows in the score, 52-48 Utah.
Second Quarter Notes/Highlights:
• Kobe to SB12 Lob: Not too flashy, but its ridiculous to see Shannon get up on short notice. Kobe’s lob was late but he was still able to throw it down. Awesome.
• Pau: Picked up where he left off and continued dominating the second quarter.
• Andrew Bynum: His ability to finish tough and-1’s as of late has been amazing. He’s falling away from the hoop and hitting bank shots. If he can consistently hit shots like that, I’ll be impressed.
Third Quarter LAL25 – UTA19
The third quarter opened with the Jazz building off the momentum generated in the second. The Lakers seemed consistently out of whack throughout the first 8 minutes regardless of who was in the game. It seemed as if every player not named Pau Gasol wanted to play individual basketball. Kobe worked it in the post early, but eventually the double teams came and no one was really stepping up. This led to Kobe forcing it and missing some tough shots and turning the ball over. Phil went to an interesting lineup once the Lakers couldn’t get much going, and had Brown, Odom, Kobe, Pau and Andrew in the game. The Lakers were able to close the gap and start playing much better, getting out on the break and converting some easy baskets. Ron entered the game for Andrew and the Lakers just kept on running to a 2-point lead. The rest of the quarter was a back and forth battle which ended with a nice three from Farmar, which put the lakers up 73-71. This should be one entertaining fourth…
Third Quarter Notes/Highlights:
• 25 minutes/1 rebound: What player had this interesting stat? Unfortunately, Andrew Bynum. How can our starting center collect his first rebound in the middle of the third quarter?
Fourth Quarter LAL28 – UTA6
To say the first three quarters were not typical Lakers basketball would be an understatement. With the length of the Lakers supposedly a huge advantage, this game saw the Jazz collect 14 offensive rebounds with 12 minutes still to play! If the Lakers are to win this game, they need to start playing better interior defensive and cleaning it up on the glass. With Kobe sitting to start the quarter, Sasha was able to get some extended run. Shocking? Yes. With the Machine playing horrible as of late, it was strange to see him getting run over Shannon Brown, but who are we to question the Zen-Master? With 9 minutes left in the fourth, Sasha hit a huge three to increase the lead to 7, the largest of the game. Phil subbed in Kobe shortly after, but it was great to see the Machine hit a shot, maybe this will boost his confidence a little. Once the starters were back into the game the lead ballooned to 12 on the shooting of Ron and Kobe. Farmar also got into the act with a nice and-1 on a layup to put the Lakers up 88-73 and GREAT defense on Williams to eventually force a shot clock violation. Once the Lakers were up 21, I was almost shocked to hear this was a result of a 20-0 run! Another ridiculous fact was that the Jazz first basket came after 7+ minutes had elapsed. The fourth quarter defense was absolutely ridiculous, and I can honestly say it’s the best 12-minute defensive effort I’ve seen the Lakers play in quite a long time.
Fourth Quarter Notes/Highlights:
• Jazz Statistics: Utah entered the second half shooting 43%, the exited the fourth shooting 33.7%. The Lakers held the Jazz to 6 total fourth quarter points.
• Rebounding: After giving up 14 offensive rebounds in the first three quarters, the Lakers surrendered a total of ONE in the fourth. Think they got the message?
• JORDAN FARMAR: If he keeps playing like this, I’ll have no problem turning the keys over to him when Fisher exits. He played every meaningful minute of the fourth quarter and was a difference maker on defense with two steals and great on ball defense on Willams. This is something we rarely say about him. His offensive game was also sharp, as he shot 4-8 from the field for 11 points. Check the vid below for some of the defense that blew me away