On Tap: The Utah Jazz

Kurt —  February 13, 2006

Record: 25-26 (24-27 Pythagorean), 9th seed in the West
Record last 10 games: 5-5
Lakers record against Jazz: 1-2
Offensive Rating: 102.7 (28th in league)
Defensive Rating: 106.8 (13th in league)

Best thing I watched this weekend: Airplane!, which HBO was rerunning. I hadn’t watched it in a decade and I laughed like it was new.

What, you thought I was going to say that Laker loss to Memphis? That game had me looking for distraction and relief. Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

Last time these two faced off: It wasn’t a fair fight. The Lakers dropped both games of a home-and-home to the Jazz on Jan. 1 and 3, but Kobe was suspended for those two games.

Why Lakers should worry anyway:
In the last game between these two, Andrei Kirilenko had 14 points, 9 assists, 8 rebounds, 7 blocks and 6 steals. That had nothing to do with Kobe being gone. Odom/Cook/Kwame are going to have to have a big game defensively against him.

About the Jazz: They start a big and dangerous front line — the aforementioned Kirilenko (a very good player when healthy), Mehmet Okur (who leads the Jazz scoring 20.1 per 40 minutes and is their best rebounder, grabbing 15.8% of available boards) and the competent Jarron Collins. There’s also limited minutes from Carlos Boozer. That’s a lot of big bodies to throw at a Laker team that was thin in the frontcourt before Chris Mihm went down (he will not play tonight and likely not against Atlanta on Wednesday).

The other dangerous guy is Matt Harpring, who provides what little outside they have to go with their inside. In the last 10 games, he is shooting 56.1% (eFG%).

The starting guards for the Jazz are two guys named Milt Palacio and Devin Brown. That is where the Lakers have the advantage.

I don’t want to jinx it but: Kwame Brown has played two pretty good games in a row.

Key to a Laker win:
Defense.

That has been the inconsistent thing that has been the difference between winning and losing. Memphis, on the season, has a team eFG% of 48.4%. They shot 54.7% against the Lakers. Their team offensive rating coming in to Staples was 105.1 (points per 100 possessions), they had 119 against the Lakers.

Utah creates some match up challenges for the Lakers, but the reverse is true as well (Utah is better up front, the Lakers in the back court). It’s a cliché but it’s true — the team that plays better defensively will have the eighth playoff spot in the West at the end of the night.

Kurt

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18 responses to On Tap: The Utah Jazz

  1. woo hoo, finally got a start to a game that wasn’t comatose.

    was there anyone who thought this team would be able to hold onto a 26 point lead without the game getting close again? that start had me optimistic, but…

    sigh. even the easy wins are frustrating as hell.

  2. DJ not damon jones February 14, 2006 at 12:39 am

    Finally, a long deserving win which they have worked hard for. keep up the good work and i hope to see kobe drop 40+ on the hawks at wednesday. go lakers!!

  3. All I gotta say is that I was happy that A.B. got to see some playing time along with R.T. and I am glad that we picked up the W. Now lets continue winning and secure that 6th seed in the west.

  4. on a completely whimsical side note… i thought the wolves would benefit from ricky buckets and m banks, and maybe make a move towards the playoffs, but they are playing terrible and with the competition for 6-8 in the west they probably wont make it. with that being said i have a strong feeling this offseason KG will demand a trade. We need to beging positioning ourselves to make a pitch for KG, whatever it takes, it may sound crazy or a long-shot but that team is going nowhere and he is near 30, at the prime of his career, why not stick him with Kobe and let them “complete” eachother

  5. remember how Chick would say that Elden Campbell had “too small” hands? how he used to fumble away nice looks underneath? …
    well Kwame makes Elden look like an all pro center with the softest hands in the league.

    yeah, it was nice to see a win last night, (almost let it get away, and if they collapsed after that lead, that would’ve been a season back-breaker)…
    but did you notice? in the first half, the shots were going in. I’ve been saying this all season, we ‘live and die” by our outside shooting percentage. when we start cold, everybody starts thinking too much, so the whole team goes cold, rebounds are long, so we get 1 shot and out, and we usually wind up getting our butts kicked.
    on the other hand, when our % is high, we look great, cause we also usually step up the D (that is what preserved the W past night).
    what we are NOT seeing enough is cutters diving to the hole, nice pick and roll plays, and finding the open man underneath…
    well, I guess we did to some degree…which leads me to my first point, didn’t Kwame fumble away something like 6 great passes which could have lead to a slam or lay up, (prefer he slams it)…and all this in the first half??!!??
    I think young Andrew has great soft hands, and knows how to finish…look to see more of him if this Kwame “rock hands” continues, even the crowd was riding him after those fumbles.

  6. What would it take to land someone like Kevin Garnett? Probably a package where you could include someone like Paul Pierce or Gilbert Arenas unforunately…

    This isn’t just another swingman who’s been lazy and not working hard for his team and pretending that he’s injured to get out of the city (cough vince carter), there are probably only 3 teams in the NBA that wouldn’t throw everything they have to land him

  7. Chris, you’re right about the lack of guys driving the hole. I’m not sure why this team’s effort on D seems to be tied to the O (or if it is just an effort thing).

    As for KG, I personnaly doubt he’ll ask for the trade. But even if he does, it will be hard for the Lakers to make a trade for that massive contract, while teams like the Bulls would be in a much better spot.

  8. What about Odom, Bynum, Goerge, and Slava for KG, and Troy Hudson? Risky. We don’t want to lose Bynum, but I think this makes the Lakers a contender right away.

  9. I think the Lakers have to start getting an inside game going. They do it a few times with Odom and Bryant but when I was watching last night Bynum had a good post up and Parker and then VujiIsuck just rotate the ball to the other side for an outside shot. This will win you soem games but you will not blow out an opponent (Except if you play the Knicks) Kwame better start thinking more about defense 9nstead of scoring because Kireleanko made him look just plain silly defending him. Brown also as noted by others has no hands what so ever and I was pleased that the crowd finally got on him for his mental mistakes. The good thing about getting the ball inside you are able to get offensive rebounds because the def usually double team hence when Bynum made that tip in after a Laker drove to the basket….easy as 123 but the Lakers would rather Chuck it from 24 feet 20 times a game….That is why the Lakers struggle to beat a team even after leading by 26 points …GET THE BALL WITHIN 10 feet A FEW TIMES AND YOU MIGHT START BEATING TEAMS BY 10 POINTS EVERY NIGHT INSTEAD OF CHOKING 7 GAMES WITHIN THE LAST 2 MINUTES

  10. Odom and Bynum for Penny and Frye?

  11. No way on Penny and Frye. Penny is a chump. Frye is great, but not worth Bynum and Odom.

  12. In that scenario, Penny would be about the expiring contract, not the player. The problem is, who can you go out and get with that money? Second, if NY trades Frye for anything less than an All-Star, and I don’t mean Odom, Thomas will have sealed his fate. This is the best guy they have to build around.

  13. It wouldn’t happen, but I’d like to get a trade going with the Knicks…only because even Kupchak could fleece Isiah out of 30 draft picks or something…

  14. if we want to make a small move, i suggest that someone let mitch know tony delk is available in the atl. he can score and he can shoot and he plays the point. defensively hes not great, but we could desperatley use a guy who can come in and score like eddie house does for phoenix

  15. also, kurt, the guy the lakers could go after with the expiring contract could be Ben Wallace. Dream with me for a second, kobe, frye, big ben, not a bad foundation.

  16. I’ve always been a fan of guys that come in from the bench and can absolute light it up for about 10 minutes like House, Bobby Jackson, Delk, Jim Jackson, etc., the only problem is if they don’t find their stroke you probably just gave up a 8-0 run to the other team…but Medvedunko’s contract for a spark off the bench I think is money well spent…

    Delk’s contract however, is like 6 years long for some reason, not that expensive (like 3 mil per) but still…Kupchak and Buss and still going for the 07 plan, or is it 08 plan now? Perhaps 09?

  17. Again, forget all the deals, unless you get a star. Again, what Odom, Bynum, Slava, and George for KG and Troy Hudson?

  18. You could only make that move in the offseason, and Slava and DG are off the books by then…

    Once we acquire a proper point guard, Odom is definitely expendable, until then though he gives us 2 players in 1 since he runs the offense but plays the post..even if he doesn’t do either as well as a real PF and a real PG can..

    The only ‘stars’ that are going to be moved are all of New York’s roster and probably Steve Francis..