Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Utah Game 5 thoughts

I'm still unhappy with giving away Game 3, not holding leads, defensive rebounding, Luke's injury, and Drew's lack of progress, but I said at the start of this thing I'd ultimately be happy if we got it done in 5 without significant injury and we mostly did that.

First quarter:
* Okur looks much better, moving well and getting lift on his shot (in that limited way he normally does, anyway).

* It turns out that Ariza rolled his ankle last game DURING PRE-GAME INTROS, during one of those jumping chest bump things. The Lakers' were apparently very calm during tonight's intros, and I expect that will continue.

* Another flat offensive start.

* I guess Ariza is feeling better tonight, after a spectacular come from behind rejection in transition and an equally pretty putback slam shortly after. Dude's got more hops than a brewery.

* 6 turnovers have led to 7 Jazz points, and that sloppiness is why we're 26-26 after 1.

Second quarter:
* Kobe has 6 shots and 5 free throws early, while that's impossible to keep up I'd like to see him get to the line for half as many shots as he takes from the field, so this is encouraging.

* Bynum may be struggling, but that doesn't keep Utah from doubling on him hard with two bigs. R-e-s-p-e-c-t.

* We have an 8-1 offensive rebounding edge so far, I think that message has finally gotten through.

* A nice 30-17 quarter for a 13 point halftime lead. Lamar has been brilliant with 16 and 8 to Boozer's 3 and 3.

Third quarter:
* Stretched out to 80-58 with a 7-0 run...series over.

Fourth quarter:
* The only question now is whether we will tank the pointspread or not. As unlikely as it looks right now, I'm betting yes.

* And on that note, Paul Millsap goes on a personal 11-0 run (with lots of help from the energy of Ronnie Price) that turns into a 13-0 and then a 16-2 run to take it from 93-73 to 95-89. And it could have been 95-91 had Deron Williams not botched a fast break in the lane. The crowd and I'm sure most Laker fans are panicked, but I really think this is all about letting Utah cover so I'm just not really concerned about losing this game.

* What I do wonder anybody in Utah still watching, or did they turn the TV off in disgust before the comeback attempt?

* Suddenly, Utah is getting a ton of offesnive rebounds...hmmm.

* And since the aforementioned Price came in Utah is on a 30-15 run.

* Utah seemed to have a lot of chances, especially off offensive rebounds (some multiple) to really put the game in doubt, but somehow did not. And now Fish hits Lamar with a great bounce pass in transition for an and-1 (he misses the FT) to make it a 9 point game and put it away officially.

* But Utah is still fighting, two more offensive rebounds and more energy from Price.

* The game ends on 11, with the lines ranging from 11.5 to 12.5. Coincidence? I know better.

So on to face either Houston or Portland. Houston was up 3-1, but Portland won at home on Tuesday to extend it to at least Thursday's game 6 in Houston, so I will not go into any matchup stuff until we know who is to be the enemy, much less when it will start. I will say that I think that the angst being shown over a possible Portland matchup in some Laker fan circles is way overblown, each of these teams poses its own unique set of challenges but we will deservedly be prohibitive favorites over either of them.

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