Your Jazz/Lakers Comments

Kurt —  May 1, 2008

First off, here’s the timing update on the second round from the Salt Lake Tribune: “If the Jazz win Friday, the Lakers and Jazz will meet at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday. If the Jazz lose and head back to Houston for Game 7, the second round won’t begin until Tuesday night.”

Second, there is a great Lamar Odom interview up at Lamar Odom’s personal Web site well worth checking out.

Tomorrow night I’ll be sitting in front of the TV closely watching the Jazz and Rockets, while on my laptop I’ll be scrutinizing the Derby contenders (man this is a wild and slow year for three year olds). Maybe tomorrow night will change my mind, but I’m still leaning toward the Jazz in the next round, so here are some of your great thoughts on the matchups:

Stephen:

Utah’s reserves-except for Harpring-are very young. They can get flustered and do silly things and let the other team get on a roll. (Prob the main reason for road woes is they have so many young players playing key supporting roles and young players tend to disappear on the road and do very well at home.)

Utah’s help defense on the initial penetration is excellent, but their weakside, off-ball rotations are horrible. The Rockets have not been able to capitalize on this as their “bigs” have shown a remarkable inability to score off the pass. Scola-until Game 5-has been so worried about getting his shot blocked he’s throwing fakes when no one is close to him, allowing the D to recover. Hayes has no lift and Motumbo has to gather himself. The Lakers shouldn’t have the same problems converting as Lamar is taller than the Rockets PFs and will dunk it and Gasol should feast on the steady diet of point-blank shots he’ll get. So long as Kobe is willing to pass instead of trying to force it into teeth of Jazz D the Lakers should be in great shape.

Chibi:

Because Kirilenko is their primary help defender, Radmanovic should get a lot of open looks. If he makes his shots, he hurts the Jazz; and if he misses open looks he hurts the Lakers. So, I’m going to ambiguously predict Radmanovic will do a lot of damage.

Reed:

On the front courts, I hope Odom matches up with Boozer and Pau with Okur. Both because of the rebounding issue mentioned by Harold and because Odom is so superior a pick and roll defender (perhaps Pau’s biggest flaw). I’d love to see someone with length take Deron (Kobe, Ariza) so that switching on the pick and roll isn’t disastrous.

Kwame a.:

We have great length on the front-line and Pau is much more physical than the national media gives him credit for. Vlad (6′10), Lamar (6′10) and Pau (7′0) is one of the few front lines in the leauge that matches the height and length of the Jazz frontcourt. We used to use Kwame to guard Boozer, and I anticipate Pau being used on him this series, so Odom can guard Okur. I think those two (Pau and Odom) can match Okur and Boozer, and Kobe will push us over the top. Should be fun…provided the Jazz close out

BJ (a Jazz fan):

1. No one in this league has an answer for Kobe, but the Jazz will use Brewer, AK, Harpring and Korver (who has had some surprisingly good games defensively lately) on him, changing things up and giving him different looks. It will not stop him, but they will make him work on both ends of the floor. The Jazz will try to frustrate him, which can happen, although he will not rattle anywhere near as easily as McGrady.

2. The biggest concern for the Jazz will probably be the combination of Odom & Gasol. The Jazz will likely try to get Gasol in foul trouble by posting Boozer (and sometimes Millsap or Okur) and forcing him to work defensively. Bynum being out will be HUGE in this series.

3. The Jazz have improved their outside shooting and will use Korver, AK, Okur, D-Will, etc. to space the floor offensively and open up the middle. Pick and rolls and lots of motion/screens will continue to be a staple of the offense, as will working to get high-percentage shots and not settling for jumpers.

4. Depth will be important for the Jazz. They have caused a very good Houston defense a lot of problems by playing 9 guys who can score in a variety of ways.

5. The Jazz have been starting games slow and finishing them strong. They will need to correct this to have a chance against the Lakers, who have much more firepower than Houston and are more capable of taking advantage of early miscues.

6. Utah will try to control the boards in an effort to limit second chance points for the Lakers and get as many of their own as possible.

Ryan SLC (also a Jazz fan):

Kobe will always get his points. The key is how many shots it takes for him to get them. T-Mac, while not on the level of Kobe, has been fairly limited in this series even though he has put up his usual numbers. I would assume we will approach Kobe the same way. Of course there will be a little physicality involved. This is the playoffs, and if Kobe gets frustrated and tired like T-Mac, then we have accomplished our goal. If Kobe gets angry and takes over, all we can do is hope he misses the shots. As I watched the Lakers this series, it really occurred to me how well you guys have been moving the ball. If Kobe gets too distracted and reverts back to ball hog Kobe, you guys might be playing right into our hands.

Boozer and Okur could limit Pau with their strength and size. Everyone knows Boozer can bang down low, and historically Pau has been known as a soft player. Okur, while known for his 3’s, is actually pretty effective when he goes inside. They key with both of them is going up strong rather than going up in an attempt to get fouled. I believe this is the number one thing that has hurt us in the Houston series. If the lay-up is not there, we need to take a 5-foot jumper. Too many times we have been needlessly and easily blocked down low.

Kurt

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84 responses to Your Jazz/Lakers Comments

  1. Great to see Jazz fans getting involved in the discussion here and providing some solid insight. That’s why I love this site: intelligent, respectful discussion where fans of all teams are welcome. This really is a fantastic environment you’ve created, Kurt.

  2. I’m looking forward to all the open shots Fish, Luke, Farmar and Sasha will get, if those 4 shoot 33% or better for the series from long range, the Jazz are toast.

  3. nbahaterade.blogspot.com May 1, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    Angry Kobe does bad, bad, things to the Utah Jazz.

  4. This Little Pinky May 1, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    Fisher should be able to help the scout team imitate the Jazz’s offensive and defensive schemes, and maybe even show them some of the out-of-bounds plays the Jazz like to run.

  5. Kudos to Jazz fan BJ for using “than” insted of “then” which seems to be standard on the internets. Only real bone to pick with his analysis is the depth comment (3). BJ, are you saying that Utah is deeper than LA? Kobe Machine, DFish, Farmar, Walton, Radman, Lamar, Pau, and Rony make nine also. Then there may be Ariza, and Mbenga should put in some useful minutes. Even without Bynum, I don’t think anyone is deeper than LA.
    Pick and Roll will be HUGE. I keep wondering why LA doesn’t defend it that well, but I guess nobody does. I guess that’s why sloan has been using it for 20 years. Of course Stockton/Malone and Williams/Boozer have something to do with it, too.
    And Jazz fans are right to hope Kobe “takes over.” That’s not where this team is at its best.

    Final comment: Both Utah and Houston scare me. Both San Antonio and New Orleans scare me. Boston scares me. But championships are more satisfying when bigger obstacles are overcome–so I welcome the fear.

  6. OK, one more thing: Does anybody know what is up with Bynum? I haven’t heard anything since PJ referred to his return as a remote possibility. Could this have been disinformation?

  7. Kurt,
    Great link to that Odom interview. I love that guy and what he provides for our team. He’s always talking *we* and you can just see that he understands the concept of team. He also sounded just like Phil in his *offensive excution provides defensive balance* quote. It’s so true, I’m glad the players actually understand, practice, and believe in it too.

    Also, I appreciate the Jazz fans coming over and showing us some of that Salt Lake savvy with their comments. Although, maybe we should lay off with any presumptious matchups until after Friday when we’ll know for sure it’s the Jazz or start to prepare for a possible Houston match up as well.

  8. 6-I wish it was, but it really seems (based on NY doctor and him not practicing with the team) that he won’t be back this season.

  9. If the Jazz look to defend Kobe as they have McGrady, I think that’s good for the Lakers. Both Phil Jackson and Kobe love to watch tape and will hopefully be prepared for these strategies in time for game 1 instead of having to adjust on the fly, which took Kobe a game in the Nuggets series.

    Has anybody else been loving Jackson’s comments on the other series taking place these playoffs? In his PTi interview he talked about the Spurs/Suns interview and hack a shaq. It’s pretty clear he’s watching every other series pretty closely. While I don’t want him to ever have a reason to be an analyst (since he should be coaching the Lakers to the finals every year), I love hearing his take on things. He’s one of the greatest basketball minds on the planet right now.

  10. Is there a text version of the interview? Due to time zone differences, all of these good things end up during work hours :(

    On a side note, I think only a few teams are as strong, if not stronger, than the sum of their parts. And it seems that those that are stronger, or just as strong as the roster they have, are the ones that survived thus far. Yao-less HOU is truly stronger than the sum of their parts, i think, but that could be because i don’t know the parts well enough. As much as i dislike PER, maybe there should be something of an ‘expected team-per’ by adding its pieces and see how the team performs compared to its ‘sum of its parts’ projection.

    What usually determines whether a team plays stronger than the roster it has is its commitment on defense and ball-sharing, the former more important than the latter, but the latter more sustainable long-term (because it probably is much less taxing to do, and pays off dividends in forms of stats). That’s what i like about our Lakers, and with a healthy Bynum and Ariza, I’m hoping we can have both.

    As for the Jazz, I think they’re just about where they are on paper, depending on how you rate AK. If what he did during our blowout is something you can expect from him… fortunately he’s much like a pre-gasol Odom, so I’m not too woried.

  11. Anyone else here who thinks the Lakers might be better off if the Jazz win Friday, so that they don’t have to go a full week without playing? (BTW Phil Jackson appears to fall into this camp–saying that rest beyond “3 days” can be highly detrimental to a team in the playoffs).

  12. DMo – if we didn’t close Denver in 4, yeah, I’d be worried about laxing, but this team did put away a feisty Denver team in 4.

    So lack of preparation, mentality, lapse in intensity, etc., will probably not be as great a factor as getting enough rest, enough games to scout, practice a bit more, get Ronny healthy, get Trevor healthy, etc.

    Well, and I’m secretly hoping that the remaining games stretch into OT and leave the Jazz or Rockets mentally exhausted… a step slow to defend… a bit lazy to drive… just a tad.

  13. LakeShowTime May 1, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    Bynum update? Check it out:

    http://www.thedirty.com/?p=24247

    If this violates comment policy, sorry!

  14. 13. That’s been making the rounds for a week or so. But dancing on a crowded dance floor is not exactly playing in an NBA game. Let the kid have some fun.

  15. LakeShowTime May 1, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    Cool, sorry.

    Anyways, I agree. I don’t seen any relevant connection to the NBA. Now, if he was f*ckin sh*t up in the pit, I’d be worried (and kinda stoked).

  16. If they defend Kobe the same way they defended McGrady then we’re going to beat them with the other 4 guys on the floor. It’s much easier to throw everything you’ve got at McGrady and these Rockets, then Kobe and these Lakers.

  17. Warren Wee Lim May 1, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    I bet every team that will face the Lakers will face the same dilemma – defend Kobe or defend all others? Those that have decided to shut Kobe down have failed miserably (Denver) and lose focus on the other four. Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Vlade Radman and DFish are easily the best 4 combo out there without the team’s best player.

    Do not put much sense into the Andrew Bynum “conspiracy theory”. We know he is a secret weapon right? But we also know he’s coming off the bench. So, its Mbenga sitting and him in his place. Whether its the 2nd round or the WCF, we’re ready.

    Meantime, lets all cheer for the Rockets to burn the Jazz.

  18. Renato Afonso May 2, 2008 at 1:34 am

    I’m just hoping the Jazz finish off the Rockets tonight… We had enough rest already.

  19. Don’t count Houston out!

    There is definitely history in this Salt Lake/Houston playoff series. The Rockets haven’t forgotten how Utah knocked them off with Yao last year. They’d love to have redemption without Yao this year–and they’ve been getting healthier and better as the series has progressed.

    They are both fighting for a chance to face the Lakers–and the Lakers shouldn’t disappoint in game one–whenever it is, and whoever they face.

    Both the Laker and Jazz fans/bloggers have had some fun speculating on a Laker/Jazz series. The Jazz need to keep their focus on the “Rocket” so that it fails to launch. The Lakers need the same determination as they had with Denver for either opponent–with the same expected result.

  20. drrayeye,
    If it is SLC, I will take a win any way we can get it – I really don’t need (read expect) a sweep.

  21. Because the Lakers are so well rested, I think the Lakers will cruz through the series. It’ll go either 4 or 5 games. I think the best thing about the Lakers is their talent and preparation. Kobe’s health might be another factor but he should be O.K. The shooting from the bench, might be the biggest factor.

  22. Warren Wee Lim May 2, 2008 at 7:28 am

    Upon many a thought, I am half-hearted rooting for HOU tomorrow. Part of me wished they’d strain the Jazz as much as possible but the other half of me is weary of too much rest and Houston themselves as a team. I know we are pretty split here re: confidence against Utah but I would really, really hate to face an amok Houston team that won from 3-1 down with a crazy momentum and with nothing to lose against us. Something to think about.

    If the Jazz indeed get that win tomorrow, the series starts Sunday? Or if not, the series starts Wednesday?

  23. Let’s hear it people, what do you want to see happen tonite, a Jazz win (so the Lakers can get back on the court again) or a Rockets win (giving the team a few more days to watch tape and get healthier).

    Also, as a broader question, who do you guys want to face, the Jazz or the Rockets?

  24. I’m actually rooting for Jazz-

    If they win tonight, and we play them on Saturday, they get 36 hours (Or so, I’m taking in account the game on sunday will be in the afternoon) and then they have to play us. IF they play on sunday, they get at least 50. Not much, I know. but I’ll take whatever small advantages we can gleam.

  25. hoping for a rockets win, because as i said before, rust is overrated when you have a dedicated team.

    we swept the team before us, and that’s focus and dedication. besides, i have supreme confidence in Kobe to come out blazing without ill-effects of the rest, so he’ll set the tone.

  26. Warren Wee Lim May 2, 2008 at 8:13 am

    Harold, you’re rooting for the Rox to win tomorrow but to lose the series? My guess is, if the Rox win in game 6, they could very well win the series. They have full momentum and they will play the clincher at home. That makes them a desperate, nothing-to-lose team that would run amok against us. Its not like Yao went down yesterday so they have already adjusted with what they have.

    Would you rather face a superior but struggling team or a weaker team but running on full throttle? Something to ponder about…

  27. Warren,
    I think that the Celtics have an equal (or better) four on the court if you subtract Garnett, Pierce, or Allen. A four-on-the-court of Rondo, Pierce, Allen, and Perkins. Perkins is the only questionable in their number, but hey, we’ve got Rad who can’t seem to decide when he’s gonna strive or dive.

    I don’t know what the big worry is about the rockets. I don’t really see them having the personnel that’s needed to beat us. Utah is a much scarier team for us. They can play offense very well and play enough defense to matter. The Rockets haven’t scored over a hundred throughout the entire series, and granted that the Jazz haven’t either, I speculate that it’s pretty damn impossible to stop the Lakers in the 80′s and 90′s for a seven game series. And if you ask me whether the Rocket’s can easily eclipse the century mark–they can’t very easily.

  28. Kwame:

    I’ve said before that I’d rather face the very good offensive team with the suspect defense than the very good defensive team with a suspect offense. So, Utah is who I’d rather face, especially considering the way the season series went against both those teams. I mean, we beat the Jazz 3-1 but lost to the Rockets 3-1. And I know that one of those losses to Houston was on opening night and included a fluky *own goal* by Luke that could be seen as the difference in the game, but still…

    And not to denegrate Utah, but Houston is just a more balanced team. Their defense is top notch and they have the offensive capability to stay in and win games. T-Mac, Alston, Scola, Landry, Battier, Jackson, Brooks…all these guys can score by attacking rather than just letting things come to them, and those are the type of players that can impact a game/series. I really don’t want another Alston 3pt. clinic or Scola craftiness lessons or Battier deciding that he’s going to get hot and rain from the corner. And speaking of Battier, he is the player that gives Kobe the most problems on the defensive end right now. So, I’d rather face the team that has no strong choice to really guard our best player than face the team that has one of the 2-3 players that truly give him problems.

    All that said, Utah would not be a pushover, and I’ve posted before why. So I see potential pitfalls in either series, but I’ll take the lesser of two evils by wanting the team that is based off offense.

  29. Warren Wee Lim May 2, 2008 at 9:25 am

    Darius, my thoughts exactly. May I simply reiterate the “we’re-not-expected-to-be-here-so-nothing-to-lose” mentality from HOU that could be VERY dangerous.

  30. Renato Afonso May 2, 2008 at 9:25 am

    Let’s put the rust factor apart, ok?

    I’m not worried about playing against T-Mac… I’m worried about playin Alston and Battier. Alston always excels against us, and we don’t want Battier doing his usual stuff on Kobe… Plus, a great defensive unit has a chance to win every game in which they are involved…

    Let’s hope the Jazz can finish this one off…

  31. Warren Wee Lim May 2, 2008 at 9:32 am

    Second the motion Renato. Could you be Ira Newble on my awards post? :)

  32. Darius, very well said.

  33. I’m rooting for Houston tonight and in the series. Yes, they have a great defense and some great role players, but I really see no way they can hang with the Lakers’ deep and rested talent for 7 games.

    Utah, on the other hand, is much scarier, in my opinion. The regular season can inform, but I wouldn’t put too much stock on those games as a predictor of future outcomes. Sure, Houston won the season series, but as Kurt always says: both teams are totally different now.

    We’ve got Pau and LO running the ‘angle to precision, Luke’s on fire, Fish makes the big shots, even Mbenga is getting comfortable.

    What does Houston have? T-Mac is tired and gimply, Battier can hit some threes and bother Kobe, Skip to my Lou has a big game here and there, and then a bunch of scrappers. Houston can maybe frustrate us for a game or two or even three, but I’d be much more confident facing them than the Jazz, who have the potential to “out-talent” us with Booz, D-Will, AK, Korver, Brewer, Millsap, etc.

  34. I’m glad the Lakers took care of business and are allowed to recover from their injuries (ie. Kobe’s ankle and knee, Ariza’s foot, and Fisher’s foot).

    With that said I expect the Jazz to win the series even though they looked atrocious in their last game. For some reason we didn’t play Houston well this year. Their team defense is definitely more conducive to stopping Kobe and preventing perimeter play. Battier does play solid defense on Kobe and on the other side of the basket Rafer has been shredding the Lakers on his jumpers and probing on offense. Finally, Bonzi Wells has provided solid offense and defense when he checks into the game as he disrupts what we do by either posting up or playing decent D on Kobe. Which leads to tight games that have went either way this series.

    Then we have Utah with Boozer and Deron Williams. Deron is playing with a bruised coccyx and has been limited. He is the motor to their team. We struggle with lightning quick point guards and given that Deron’s shot is on he’s definitely the sparkplug that gives his team its confidence. Everyone feeds off him and that improves their team defense and creates flow to their offense (inspired Kirilenko play and high percentage looks for Okur and Korver).

    We match up well against Utah and it seems like we’re able to do execute our offense efficiently against Utah and that should lead us to an easier route to the next round.

  35. I’d rather see the Jazz next round simply because I think it will make the more entertaining series. Both teams are scary, Utah for the myriad reasons already covered and the Rockets because of their defense and the way Battier and Alston seem to thrive against the Lakers (although I’m pretty positive we wouldn’t let Skip hit eight 3′s in a playoff game). As far as our ability to beat either team, I think it’s pretty much a toss-up between the two; I don’t know that we stand a better chance against Utah than we do against Houston, or vice versa.

    So it’s for that reason that I’m rooting Utah. With them, at least we know the scores are going to be more along the lines 112-108, and not 85-83 (yuck).

  36. great graphic in the LA Times today looking at various forms of the triangle:

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/basketball/nba/lakers/la-050208-sp-triangle-g,0,4229023.graphic

  37. The one problem with Utah is that they are a very young team – like the Lakers – led by a very respected coach, who has used his system for many years – also like the Lakers. Since we have talked about how much the Lakers have developed throughout the year and we see much more maturity for our youngsters, we must give the same accolades to the Jazz. Their record at the beginning of the year, as well as their early road losses, should be somewhat discounted. Also, their occasional lapses should not be a surprise to a fanbase that notes the same tendency in their own team.

    The key to Utah is their hunger and how they are playing together today. Last year this team got to the WCF and they only got better this year. Do not underestimate this team simply because we judge them by an older, more experienced team’s standards. They are constantly becoming more dangerous – as are the Lakers.

    I will be very closely monitoring the game tonight. If Utah loses, then I will be willing to talk about their lessened danger to us, but if they successfully close out Houston, I think we need to put on full body armor.

  38. I think I’d rather see the jazz than the Rockets. We have not played very well against the Rockets, but have torched the Jazz on numerous occasions. Here are some reasons:

    1) Fish and Kobe will be psyched up by the chorus of boos. It is personal, and Fish and Kobe will exact vengeance.

    2) The Lakers need to be careful when playing the jazz and not play a “collapse” defense. They have too many players who can stroke from the outside (Okur, Korver, and AK-47). I’d actually prefer the Lakers to play underneath the screen and give up “lightly” contested 20-25 foot shots. This is a huge key to winning this series.

    3) The Lakers need to find ways to penetrate and draw fouls from the Jazz. Boozer, AK, and Okur seem to have a knack for fouling.

    4) Fish, Kobe, and Farmar need to penetrate. Deron is a little sore and as Kurt et al mentioned, the weak side cut and in the key penetration (LO and Pau) will be open. Further, open looks will kill the Jazz. Their help D will leave baseline 3s open all day. This is where Fish and Rad will specialize.

  39. Weston-Great points. I think over the course of a 7 game series we have 2 decisive advantages over Houston. 1) Phil over Adelman and 2) our depth. I think this would make Houston a more favorable matchup, although either team will be far tougher an opponent than Enver.

    Houston really is a different team with Rafer starting and B.Jax coming off the bench. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Houston win tonights game.

  40. Travis…I wouldn’t be worried about seeing Bonzi Wells until the WCF if we get there :-). He’s enjoying his time in the Big Easy right now, not Houston.

  41. Bring on the Jazz or the Rockets. The way that series is going, though, the BETTER team will win. Yes, we may have some favorable matchups one way or the other. But it will be who it will be – a team that deserves to play us and is a good enough team to advance to the second round. I mean, I can’t really picture the coaching staff preparing for one team over the other…

    Anyone think we should have a post dedicated to a potential matchup with the Rockets to please the Karma Gods? Or do we wait to see if Houston wins tonight? Either way, I’m rooting for the Rockets. And ATL. And the WIz. Who doesn’ t want to see 7 games? Go T-Maculate!

  42. oh by the way, excellent article on the suns by simmons over at the WWL.

  43. Renato Afonso May 2, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    37. Kurt,

    The LA Times graphic only shows the weak side entrance to the triangle offense, which is not the most used. Traditionally, the entry pass is to the forward on the strong side, with the Center in the low post. However, the tweak in the Shaq era is quite interesting…

    It was clearly meant to send Horry to the weak side, drawing his defender closer to Shaq in the painted area… Oh, the memories…

    32. Dude, I’m european… Pick one of those… (and if you pick Turiaf I’m getting on a plane to your town and beating you senseless with a rim… yep, I will try to use a rim) ;)

    34. Weston, agood defensive unit can win every game, even if their shots are not going in… Seriously…

  44. I have to admit. This has been a great playoff year to remeber, especially as a laker fan. Its been fun to sit and watch all the teams play. I love the Cavs and Wizards series. All the trash talking has been great, and see how all the players react. We all know the Lakers are gonna win the NBA finals so it doesnt matter. but it was also fun to see the Hawks win a couple of games. Phill won a couple of games. I was a little dissapointed in the Suns, I thought since they had Shaq they would be able to beat the spurs. Shaq and Amare played well, but no one else really did anything. I’m Glad that Kobe is gonna get his MVP trophy this year, I actually thought he deserved it the year he scored 81 and almost put pheonix out of the playoffs. But we’ll settle for this year. I am dissapointed in Dallas also, because what Howard said about all the other players and how bad they played against the Hornets who will eventually lose to the Lakers in the Western Conference finals. But overall its been great to see the Lakers bounce back from 3 dissapointing seasons and be the #1 seed, get the MVP trophy, GM of the year, and get out of the first round. congrats.

  45. ^ Laker fan?

  46. Renato Afonso May 2, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    46. Is that to me?

  47. renato, i think tony starks’ comment is directed at regg , who seemingly has this all wrapped up for us (although that looks different than the original comment, even though it’s of the same ilk). apparently it’s in the bag. no worries, i guess…

  48. I cruise around other blogs just to see whats out there and what our opponents are discussing.
    Bottom Line……..FB&G DOMINATES…..i repeat…..DOMINATES all the blogs out there. The discussion and comments on this blog by all of you are so much more intelligent than the others. Makes me proud to be a Laker fan. I think Utah may be a little too over confident right now……they better be careful tonight or they are in serious trouble.

    Regardless of who the Lakers get….Houston or Utah……Lakers in 5, period, done deal, put it on the board!!

  49. Interesting comment from Adande about Bynum (in a chat on ESPN):

    Scott (Orange, Ca): Let’s hear it for the Lakers training staff … Oh wait, they can’t get any player back on the floor within 3 months. I don’t understand! Bynum is probably out, but what about Ariza? It would be nice to have someone to spell Kobe on the defensive end.

    J.A. Adande: (3:40 PM ET ) Actually, the Lakers have one of the best training staffs going. You don’t hear about Kobe missing extended time with injuries, do you? Bynum has been working with his own people on rehab. And one of the hang-ups is there are different philosophies on how he should go about it. His side and their side. Ariza is supposed to get tested again next week to see if he can go. Bynum still isn’t practicing. Talked to Lakers pr guy yesterday and he still had no estimate on a Bynum return. As I’ve been saying, I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for him to return this postseason.

  50. laughing hard May 2, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    I’m conflicted about tonight:

    1) I’d like to see the Rockets win, just because I’m a fan of underdogs, and I think that the Jazz fans deserve nothing less than humiliation on their home floor after their booing of D-Fish.

    2) I miss watching Lakers games! I’m sick of trying to get excited about watching Detroit play Philadelphia, or whatever =) That part of me wants to see Utah win, so the second round starts sooner!

  51. comment #46 wasn’t directed towards renalto or regg. there was another comment up that i’m guessing got moderated on.

  52. 44. Renato, Oh, I know a good defensive team CAN win every game…I just think, in this case (the Rockets) they WON’T. Now, if we get to the WCF, and are looking at Spurs/Hornets, I will opt for the Hornets everyday, because SA can bring that defense each and every night, and they WILL.

  53. sorry to speculate on your comment ironman. i did see that there was a comment there before though, that is now gone.

  54. For those of you interested in a statistical approach to basketball, there’s a link to an article on Celtics head stat geek Mike Zarren over on True Hoop. There’s a moderate amount of insight over there, and among other things, he confirms what I’ve generally thought (and mentioned in a recent thread): Basketball is a much harder to sport to capture statistically than baseball. Zarren’s solution is a bit different from mine–he suggests putting RFID chips (or their equivalent) in shoes and sensors in the floor–but the basic idea of capturing the motion of players directly is the same.

  55. The Fanalyst May 2, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    Jazz win tonight by at least eight. Lakers are going to need seven probably to take care of round two afterwards, but I don’t see the Jazz going back to the city of their birth (NO) for a WCF. Lakers vs. Spurs in a classic showdown (Phil already lit a fire under Pop by questioning his coaching on Shaq). Fun times ahead.

    I went back into my head a few weeks and remember all those people saying “The Nuggets have more than a chance to blah, blah, blah…” and how tough they were going to be on Team LA and how dangerous they were. We know how that turned out. I try not to be biased when breaking down talent and schemes on my own, but I can’t help but feel like too many teams get credit for more than they end up being worth at this point in the season. Who would have thought of the Hawks and Sixers having more playoff relevance than the Nuggets, Suns and Mavericks?

    Anyway, I feel like there are a lot of dead horses to be beaten in Utah, SA, NO, and whoever gets it done in the East, when the seasons over. People are going to start to wonder how they might have doubted this Laker team at points and how much they over-estimated other teams when faced with Forum Blue and Gold for seven games.

    At least I hope so…

  56. STeve Mason show on 710 had a really good debate topic today- Would you rather go through the easiest possible matchups to the title, lowest risk of losing, or go for glory through the toughest and hardest battles and win the championship that way?

    I’d like to hear y’alls thoughts on the subject

  57. If you crave more attention, acceptance, recognition, praise, and prestige for your favorite team, you’re going to want them to go through the most difficult path. But if you’re satisfied with their status in the league, and feel no real need for the team to have to prove themselves, then you’d prefer the easiest route.

  58. laughing hard May 2, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    Honestly, a Denver-Utah(?)-San Antonio/New Orleans path to the finals would certainly be the easier path in the West, but I wouldn’t say that there’s no glory in it — I don’t think there are any easy paths to the championship this time around.

    Btw — I’m watching the Boston/Atlanta game, and I’m finding myself cheering for Mike Bibby… I hated him for so long in Sacramento… this feels like a betrayal.

  59. I just want to say that this site FB&G is a one stop place for me to go. I mean I can get links, opinions, accurate analysis of whatever is hot at the time in basketball (especially Laker stuff) Keep it up for the upcomming next round of playoff basketball.

  60. Just an interesting note. Daryl Morey (of the Rockets) recently compiled a tape of Utah’s physical play and sent it into the league office to complain. If we do face Utah, it’ll be interesting to see if that tape will actually help us. Will the league take notice, and tell refs to call Utah more tightly? If so, they won’t be allowed to play Kobe as physical as they played T-Mac, and that could really help us down the line.

  61. Jeff,
    I heard some of that debate topic on AM710. I periodically tuned in to see if it was over. My issue with that topic is that generally the better team wins a 7 game series – GS was better than the Mavs last year. Series are always about matchups anyway, and that doesn’t imply that one team is better/worse than another, just that the matchups favor one team.

    The discussion implies that the team that is easier for us to match up with is not the best team. Teams may get a ‘lucky’ path the the finals because of matchups, but they are no less deserving than another team that happened to be paired with their nemesis – see PHX matched against SA this year. The entire season is played out to determine matchups. We were actively discussing which side of the bracket we wanted to be in near the end of the season because we wanted to avoid SA, NO, HOU, and Utah. Well Utah fell into our side of the bracket, but we avoided all but one of the others. Should any possible championship be worth less because of this? I seriously doubt any basketball organizations would even try to argue this.

    The closest we come to this is the debate whether MJ played in a ‘watered down’ league because the 90′s were not as talented or tough as the 80′s.

  62. Not official yet……

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-kobe3-2008may03,0,6268282.story

    But I’m pretty sure it will be soon.

  63. I know the whole road/home thing has been discussed, but wow, the Jazz are a different team at home, and those Jazz fans are amped.

  64. And sorry for the double post….but man, how bout those hawks….Utah’s beating the snot out of the Rockets right now, so Sunday should be exciting as hell.

  65. laughing hard May 2, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    MVP MVP MVP MVP!

    Mamba had an incredible season. I’m glad he’s getting this honor.

  66. Ya gotta lov them Hawks. Man is there a lot of tape on how to play the Celtics now.

  67. What the heck happened to the Celtics? How is it that they fail to win ONE road game in this series…

    I say Kobe should pick up the tab for the entire FB&G blog, now that he’s the MVP for real!

  68. KG is showing why in his great 13yr career he has made it past the 1st round all of once. He has been MIA in each of their loses. Ray Allen missing open shots, Pierce fouling out. Can’t blame everything on Doc, and if Thibedau gets so much credit for their D, then he has to be blamed for losing to a 1-man 4th quarter offense. All that said, if they win Sunday, they may just sweep their next series. I do know that if they lose, coupled with the Patriots collapse, it will be suicide alert in Bean Town

  69. Renato Afonso May 2, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    52. Sorry

    53. I’m just not so sure about that… But guess Utah is coming through… So it doesn’t really matter

    67. The bad part of it is this: they don’t need to win a single road game…

  70. laughing hard May 2, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    Tracy McGrady on why Houston plays well in Salt Lake City:

    “We hate their fans.”

  71. I wasn’t really rooting for anyone in the Rockets/Jazz game but then I found myself wagging my finger at the television after Mutombo blocked that Kirilenko dunk attempt.

  72. Well since they leaked the news of the MVP, I guess we can expect a dozen blogs or so to try to discredit the award because it went to Kobe. Tomorrow’s going to be a very interesting day. Especially interested in how the LeBron fans (Hollinger) try to spin this.

  73. Warren Wee Lim May 2, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    Renato, are my eyes betraying me or did I see your 2nd name to be Afonso and it used to be Alfonso?

    Congratulations Kobe Bean Bryant. You deserve it man.

  74. laughing hard May 2, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    Somewhere, Derek Fisher is smiling.

  75. So, it is the Jazz. (I might as well come out now…I’m a Jazz Fan–born in LA, live in Sac, Jazz all the way).

    Anyway, as a Jazz fan, and after the Houston series, I’m worried by a couple things.

    First and foremost: Phil Jackson. The guy knows how to coach and he knows how to coach against the Jazz and the Jazz sets. Contrary to what an LittlePinky said in an earlier post, DFish does not need to supply any intelligence to the Lakers staff as to what the Jazz are going to run–they’ve run the same sets for twenty years, and Phil knows how to defend them.

    Second–Kobe. The guy kills everyone, but in my biased opinion he seems to enjoy a special pleasure putting the hurt on the Jazz. Maybe this stems from his initiation into the playoffs in 1997 when he shot three airballs in a row in Utah and the Jazz worked Shaq and Kobe in five games. Or maybe he just hates Utah. Or maybe it isn’t Kobe at all…the Jazz are notorious for letting two guards light it up for big points–in the last couple years we’ve seen Kobe, Arenas, McGrady, LeBron and several others hit it up for 40 and 50 point games against Utah. Kobe is going to have some huge points in this series, the question is can the Jazz overlook this and work to stop the rest of the team or will Kobe’s big games break them to the point where they start letting everyone else into it.

    Third – Foul Shots. The Jazz foul more than any other team in the league. And they are going to foul Kobe… a lot. Unlike McGrady, Kobe makes his foul shots, so the playing a real physical D on Kobe isn’t going to be as effective as it was with TMac. Pao also can shoot from the line. The Jazz have to try to A: get as many foul shots as the Lakers B: Make as many or more. This is going to be tough. I’m not one for consipiracies, but nobody is going to tell me that the refs are going to let Utah play as tight on Kobe as they were allowed to play on Mcgrady. Wouldn’t be good for ratings…

    I fully expect the Jazz to be down 2-0 once the series moves to Utah. And I fully expect the media, the bloggers, the fans, and everyone else to be on their knees at the almight helm of the Lake Show. But the Jazz aren’t going down easy. This series is going seven.

  76. Renato Afonso May 3, 2008 at 5:56 am

    Warren, always was Afonso… Alfonso is spanish, I’m portuguese.

  77. riegel dizon May 3, 2008 at 7:58 am

    kobe is the man of the moment…. i hope to see spurs-lakers… it will be a good match-up…. sad to say that the boston is falling to hawks… whos ur bit???…

    its hard to say for this while because any changes will be happen… i just hope that lakers wil eventualy win the series..

    id like the fact that the lakers are very effective this season…. we cant deny that they have strong inside and outside stats… from shooting guards to big man..

    i cant wait to see the game…
    thing must do for the lakers to win the series:

    1.) make a good passes, these may turn to be a good one if lakers make there passes good
    2.) work it inside… it is a big stuff to know that ones the big man earn there points… it gonna be a win
    3.) limit turn-overs
    4.) make kobe work
    5.) lastly, play defense…

    i think thats all…. for u?? make ur comments

  78. 78-So who are you for, Carvalaho or Ronaldo.

  79. I thought that article on the Celtics stats “wizard” was pretty funny. I wonder what he was doing last year when the Celtics weren’t any good? I guess it’s not just the other _players_ that KG can make look good…

    Speaking of which: go Hawks! It looked like they were beating the Celtics inside on pure desire. I just hope they can bring it for one more game. With the raw talent inside, the Hawks kind of remind me of where the Suns were a few years ago, though Horford may have some leadership skills that never surfaced in the desert.

    I’m looking forward to the series with Utah. Part of me wonders what Kobe would do in a series if he knew they weren’t gong to call fouls (on either end). That would be some brutal, old-school basketball.

  80. Savvy Veteran May 3, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    As a Jazz fan, I have been terrified of this potential matchup for months, and now my fears have come to fruition. Our play at times in the Rockets series left me very optimistic about this group, but at other times I was left wondering how I could have ever considered the Jazz to be championship contenders. Many have mentioned that Kobe will always get his terrific statline, and have then seemed to insinuate that it is more important for Utah to attempt to shut down the other Lakers because of this inevitability. I don’t quite agree here, and I think a realistic goal for the Jazz would be to hold Kobe to under 25 points every game. This can only be possible if Ronnie Brewer plays more than 25-30 minutes a game, which has been approximately his average playing time all season and playoffs. Brewer played great defense on McGrady (who, unlike Kobe, completely turns off his motor when facing a good defender), and has turned into a very reliable offensive player (even showcasing a solid new midrange game). On the other hand, once McGrady realized that Harpring and Korver could not defend him, he destroyed us. Don’t get me wrong, I think Korver is a tremendous asset when his jumpshot is falling (I am not a Harpring fan, and was a frequenter of the terrifc, now-defunct Harpringsucks.com website), but if he is not helping the Jazz I hope that Sloan will not hesitate to pull him, although this wish is most certainly a futile one. That’s all for now, but I’m hoping for a competitive series, and best of luck to everyone.

  81. Renato Afonso May 4, 2008 at 3:25 am

    80. Ronaldo (and Nani) played for Sporting (and Queiroz was the coach in the mid-90′s). Carvalho and Ferreira played for Porto. I’m a Sporting fan, so I hope Ronaldo trashes Carvalho and the rest of the Blues. ;)

  82. The Lakers are having trouble trying to rebound, why is Chris Mihm sitting on the bench. The Lakers went to Utah and played like some rookies. They better get their act together and soon.