Lakers/Jazz Thoughts

Kurt —  May 4, 2008

Some assorted thoughts from Game One, we’ll break down the details in the coming days:

• I enjoyed that game because I enjoy watching two teams that know how to pass. That was smart hoops.

• I also said this series was about defense — Utah shot 40% (eFG%) the Lakers shot 48.6%. Count one for LA. Despite the offensive rebounds by Utah, LA’s defense was the difference.

• I think the Lakers length impacted that shooting percentage for Utah. And that is not going to change.

• Let’s not complain about the refs. I think Darius has said this well in the comments several times — Utah does what it does physically every time down the court, and over the course of a game or a series they move the bar for what gets called. Eventually, the refs call fewer and fewer fouls. Rather than complain about it, the Lakers have to play through it, to play through the contact. Kobe does that better than anyone.

• The fact that Gasol had four free throws in the game I think is a sign he did not like the physicality. He needs to accept it and score through the contact in game two.

• To Utah fans complaining about Phil complaining about the refs: Welcome to playoff basketball. You can influence the refs through the media, every coach knows this and does this.

• The adjustments for game two will be very interesting. What do the Lakers do to improve their defensive rebounding? What adjustments do the Jazz do to improve D-Will’s 5 of 18 night?

• The offensive rebounds matter: Utah grabbed 43.1% of their missed shots, and that is far too many. To counter, the Lakers did a better job of getting to the line.

• I thought Hubie Brown made a great point about Utah (and I paraphrase), “Every time they do something on offense that is a great point, they give up an easy basket on the other end.”

• What did I say about Utah’s transition defense? It’s not that good and the Lakers did a good job of exploiting it, and that needs to continue.

• Those Zohan split-screen commercials are brilliant.

• More Kobe/Gasol pick-and-roll.

• Okur is married to the former Miss Turkey? There is a stuffing joke in that but I’m not going near it.

• Everything worked out great, but a couple years ago the Lakers considered trading for Boozer and I was for it. I’m not ashamed of having been in that camp.