Preview & Chat: The Utah Jazz

Kurt —  January 2, 2009 — 122 Comments

Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Lakers, Game 5

Records: Lakers 25-5 (1st in the West) Jazz 19-14 (9th in the West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 112.7 (3rd in league) Jazz 108.0 (12th in league)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 102.5 (4th in league) Jazz 104.5 (9th in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Luke Walton, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Jazz Deron Williams, Ronnie Brewer, Andrei Kirilenko, Paul Milsap (maybe), Mehmet Okur

Lakers notes: Interesting Derek Fisher stats courtesy Mike Trudell over at the official Lakers Blog:

Pre Farmar Injury:
28.0 minutes; 10.5 points; 3.3 assists; 2.5 rebounds; 0.9 turnovers; 41.3% FGs

Post Farmar Injury:
36.2 minutes; 14.8 points; 4.0 assists; 2.8 rebounds; 1.0 turnovers; 49% FGs

Sure the minutes have gone up, but notice that the shooting percentage has as well, and he is not turning the ball over much more in those minutes. Basically, he is playing his best ball of the season.

If you want to look back at the year that was (by player), check out LA Ball Talk.

Celtics Considering Marbury? Rather than my thoughts, here are the thoughts of Dex 40 from the comments:

From the article linked here, “Marbury easily ranks as the most accomplished low-cost veteran that the Celtics can add to their bench in-season. Boston also knows it has the option to simply release Marbury without significant salary-cap consequences if he fails to click as a backup or proves unwilling to accept a secondary role.”

This is all true. Marbury is an accomplished low-cost veteran like Telly Savalas in The Dirty Dozen, whose only drawback is that he’s insane and has a tendency to fire his gun randomly in the air right at the moment when the slightest noise will compromise the mission. The slightest distraction may jeopardize everything, but what the heck, Telly doesn’t cost much and he’s been in a lot of wars.

It’s a relief to know that the Celtics won’t suffer significant salary-cap consequences if Marbury wreaks havoc on team chemistry and morale for a month or so. They can just release him!

Easy as Easy Cheese.

The Jazz Coming In: Welcome to the Western Conference, where the Jazz are on a 47 win pace but would miss the playoffs if they started today.

The Jazz have just not been able to get healthy. Tonight they will be without Carlos Boozer, who is in the unfortunate position of waiting for the swelling to go down in his knee so they can operate. Since he went down, the Jazz are 11-10, they miss what he brings in the paint.

Paul Millsap and Jerrod Collins may be back tonight, but both are coming off injury layoffs.

The Jazz still have Deron Williams, one of the best point guards in the game. The book on him lately has been to back off, make him beat you with a jumper but don’t let him get in the paint (the Lakers pack it in a lot anyway, so this should fit right in). The reason is his shooting is off, he shot 54.4% eFG% last year and just 47.8% this season, From three he dropped from a 39% shooting to a 32% shooting.

Just in time for the Lakers game, Williams may be breaking out of it., The 76ers followed the pack it in book recently and Williams went 11-18 from the floor, 4 of 6 from three and had 27 points as the Jazz cruised. If he is hot the Lakers need to adjust and get out on him.

A few other Jazz worth watching. The always hot and cold Andrei Kirilenko has been more hot than cold lately, and the team is a +13 per 48 when he is on the court. Mehmet Okur has picked up the scoring load with Boozer down, averaging 20 a game in the last 10, but he is not doing it efficiently. Okur is shooting 45.4% (eFG%) as well as just 31% from three in his last 10 games.

One guy to watch off the bench is rookie Kosta Koufos, who is getting just 15 minutes or so a game but has looked good the couple times I have caught a Jazz game, particularly on offense where he is very polished. Check out what ESPN’s David Thorpe said about him:

Want to get an idea of how diversified Koufos’ offensive game is? Here’s how he scored his buckets in the Jazz’s big win over Dallas: Offensive-rebound putback, layup off a dive in low-high action, step-through off a loose ball, race to the rim from the left-hand side, left-hand dribble and right-hand layup over Erick Dampier, rim-to-rim sprint and dunk, pick-and-roll left-hand finish, dive-to-the-rim dunk in low-high action, right-hand hook (and 1!) off a pick-and-roll.

Keys To The Game: The Lakers need to have the offense working tonight — the Jazz struggle to keep up with teams that can score a lot. The Lakers can score a lot, when they run the offense and are focused.

With Boozer out and Milsap just back from an injury, the Lakers should try to take advantage inside. AK-47 will help Utah there, but as Reed pointed out in his review post of a couple days ago the Lakers just have advantages inside against everyone and they need to exploit that more. If AK-47 is helping out inside, Luke and Ariza need to make him pay with points, Radmanovic can help here as well.

The Jazz are a team that protects the paint on defense — they pack it in. The Lakers need to hit some outside shots to loosen that up. Sasha could have a good night, but basically someone from the Lakers will have to be hot from outside. That Kobe fellow can do that as well.

On defense, you have to make Deron Williams a shooter, not a passer. Yes, he can shoot and he hurt the 76ers that way a few nights back, but like Nash and CP3 you don’t want Williams with 15 points and 12 assists, you’d rather make him score, and do it with the jumper. That will put a lot of pressure on Fisher tonight, who has to step up, as well as Bynum and Gasol in the paint to take away layups but recover to their man as well. Also, watch the Jazz try to post Williams on Fisher, they did that in the playoffs in hopes of getting fouls and getting Farmar on the floor (Williams destroyed Farmar). Fish has to be smart and get help.

Also, the Lakers need to be ready to bang, and they need to hit their free throws. Utah just wears on teams physically, the hold and push, frustrate and foul. The Lakers answered that just fine in the playoffs, they have to do it again tonight.

Where you can watch: Fox Sports in LA with a 7:30 tip off. Nationally, League Pass and thee other usual suspects.



122 responses to Preview & Chat: The Utah Jazz

  1. I think it’s telling that we’ve only lost two games that didn’t come down to a very unlucky last second shot–

    Indy’s freak tip in at the buzzer

    Kobe’s in and out against Miami

    Sasha’s in and out against Orlando, and Kobe’s subsequent miss at the buzzer

    Perhaps the team is under-performing at 25-5…?

  2. I think that Pau should guard Okur, and Bynum stay with Millsap, Koufos, whoever.

    Drew is our better shot-blocker and needs to stay in the paint. That will be hard to do if he is assigned on Okur, who makes a living by stretching defenses out on the 3-pt line

    Pau has quickness, knows Okur’s game much better and is a better perimter defender than Drew.

    Lamar Odom vs Andrei Kirilenko will be a lot of fun

  3. btw, wondahbap,

    I read your responses on the Celtics blog and would like to congratulate you on how graciously and diligently you handled the nasty cheap shots from the Celtic fans

  4. Reed. Yeah if the ball bounces different a couple times the Lakers coulud be 27-3 or 28-2 right now.

    Should be a fun game. Undermanned teams are always dangerous because teams tend to overlook them. Okur could cause some problems for the Lakers D since he tends to play on the perimeter. This will draw Bynum out of the paint. Putting Bynum on Milsap might be worth trying and I am sure that Odom will guard Okur when they are in the game together like he did in the playoffs.

  5. Jazz fan here. Thanks for the excellent preview.

  6. Utah’s been playing Fesenko more as well, right?

    Also, I hope Pau meets the ball instead of letting Jazz defenders reach in, or hold the ball too low and get it swiped.

  7. Mamula,

    Yeah. I handled those fools. Haha. Just playing. It’s fun blogging there.

  8. Derek Fisher always enjoys playing against GS and UTA and steps it up a notch.

  9. Something not mentioned in the preview….it seemed that last year in the playoffs, the Lakers got a lot of transition points on the Jazz, especially in the game 6 last year…(I rewatched some of the game on youtube), with Lakers being one of the top teams in the league with steals, they should be able to hopefully get a lot of easy transition baskets.

  10. Regarding Marbury, Truehoopposted:

    “Brett Pollakoff at NBA Fanhouse deems Marbury a high risk-low reward maneuver for Boston: ‘As far as Marbury becoming any type of distraction though, there’s little chance of that happening with alpha dogs Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce around.'”

    Okay, sure, KG and PP are strong personalities and all but we’re talking about a guy who bought his own tickets to a Lakers game just so he could show up the team that is currently signing his checks. Is a stream of obscenities from KG going to affect that?

    Maybe KG and PP can help prevent the rest of the team from getting caught up in whatever issues arise, but the fact that they’d have to expend that energy IS the disruption. (And note the bullet shortly after on Truehoop that says that Eddie House and Starbury already haeve a feud).

    The fact that Boston is even considering this makes me feel better about the Lakers title hopes. I just hope they don’t find a way to pry Steve Francis from the Memphis Grizzlies…

  11. The slow start, the loss of Boozer for a significant number of mid-season games, and a lot of road games yet to play will likely mean the Jazz finish up with a low seed.

    Still, it’s kind of messed up that a team will have worked so hard to earn a high seed and then have to face the likes of them in the first round.

  12. #11, i’m not too worried about marbury, but the players I’d really hate to see join the celtics are sean williams(long shotblocker), jamario moon(athletic wing), and bob horry.

  13. props to Kurt for referencing Kojak & the dirty doz.

  14. i hope the Celtics would take on Horry, there is nothing left in that tank.

    Millsap is starting, with a knee brace. I like the idea if Bynum on him, Gasol on Okur.

  15. yeah, gotta watch out for Okur and the long 3 pointers, and I hope we do go with pau on him tonight. better to have Drew stay down low under protecting the rim.
    what about Trevor on D Will? what do you think?

  16. Fisher did a great job defending Derron Williams in last years playoffs. I can’t imagine why he won’t do well again this game.

    Fisher has problems with the quicker guards, but Williams isn’t that quick (or at least doesn’t seem too quick to me).

  17. Fisher did OK guarding Williams, but I can’t call it a great job.

    Williams averaged 22ppg, 11.5apg, shooting 46% from the field and 41% from down town where he averaged 2.5 treys per game.

    I wouldn’t mind throwing a couple of looks at him, considering we get torched by point guards almost every game and D. Will is just starting to look 100%.

  18. We should try Ariza on Williams for an extended period, just to see how it goes and give him the experience.

    I here Miles and Brewer are much improved. The former is deadly from deep (over 40%). The latter supposedly really worked on his outside game — but I bet Kobe still roams and lets him shoot at will.

    Fesenko is an interesting prospect. A Thorpe favorite (kudo’s to Kurt for being quoted on truehoop as Thorpe) and huge body. Probably will see him on Bynum a fair amount. He’s a foul waiting to happen, but surprisingly gifted.

    Milsapp always destroys us. If healthy, I’d guess 14+ rebounds.

  19. S. Nicholson,

    A lot of that scoring was against Farmar.
    As soon as Fisher subbed out Williams would just attack the basket and get whatever he wanted. It would be interesting to see what he got versus Fisher and vs Farmar.

  20. Great article about Luke and why he’s starting.,0,5170647.story

    The way Phil Jackson has set it up, Walton gets the team going in the first and third quarters with his passing, while Ariza clamps down defensively and adds his finishing burst on offense in the second and fourth quarters. It’s as simple as that.

    It’s not really about who starts, it’s about who finishes.

  21. Ironically I kind of wish Boozer wasn’t hurt here. He struggled against the Lakers in the playoffs so much, while Milsap has played better than usual against the Lakers. In addition, the team may take the Jazz a little lightly because of the injury.

    On the other hand, Deron Williams may miss Farmar as much as anybody in the league the way DWill torched Jordan last year.

    Frankly I’m just glad to have a game to watch again.

  22. Gerrit,

    You are right; I do remember most of the damage being caused against Farmar. Fisher does know D. Will’s game well. Fish he had good anticipation on a lot of plays where D. Will made a spin or step back move and Fisher beat him to his spot and contested well.

    I still like the idea of giving Ariza, Sasha and maybe even Kobe some minutes on him. We definitely need a team effort to contain him.

    I hope the Lakers don’t take this game lightly, because we all know Sloan’s teams come to compete every night.

  23. @ Kurt

    I sincerely hope that the C’s don’t pick up Horry because it would ruin so many fond memories for me personally.

    I would like to see more of that Kobe/Sasha/Ariza/Odom/Bynum lineup tonight. Does anyone have a rough idea of how effective that lineup is? From my naked perspectives only, it seems that this lineup is solid on offense and terrorizing on defense. Of course, I’m not a numbers guy so can’t really back that statement up.

  24. @23,

    Per The Vujacic-Bryant-Ariza-Odom-Bynum combo has played 22 minutes, Posts an offensive efficiency of 1.09 and a defensive efficiency of 0.77.
    The net +/- is +14 (I don’t know if that is total or normalized to a specific amount of time). With that lineup the Lakers held their opponents to a effective Field Goal % of 36.5%.
    The Vujacic-Bryant-Ariza-Odom-Bynum lineup seams to be dominant defensively, but that could be due to small sample size or playing against bad opponents.

  25. anyone have a good stream?

  26. Joe: ‘I rewatched some of the game on youtube’

    Was it womatama’s channel? He has uploaded heaps of games.

  27. And those looking for a stream:

  28. Like the energy so far.

  29. Didn’t like the pujit.

  30. PUJIT =[

  31. thought we were past the pujits fisher

  32. #27, I am not sure whos channel it was. I rewatch old lakers games there all the time.

  33. Man, I gota watch the game in spanish and its so annoying….

  34. Love the energy out there. Need to keep it up the whole game. 27-10 with 3:00 left in the 1st is pretty impressive though.

  35. mmm… good stuff 🙂 not much to say

  36. En ingles:

    Aside from Okur and Knight, the Jazz look listless.

  37. Here’s another stream that isn’t in Spanish…

  38. Most impressive stat that first quarter was 15 free throws…and we made 14 of them

  39. Great minds, 81 Witness…

  40. Not much to dislike about that 1st quarter:
    Big numbers from Kobe and Pau, great effort on defense and the team looks focused after the layoff.
    So far the Jazz are living up to their reputation by fouling early and often, and the Lakers are making them pay (14-15 from the line).

  41. Okay, maybe one thing to dislike … not sure I’m loving that lavender tie and shirt combo from Farmar. Nice to see him courtside, though.

  42. With 1 q in the books, think its reasonable to pencil in a final score of 148-80?

  43. Does anybody else feel like Farmar can take as long as he likes getting back?

  44. siiiiick!

  45. “The game’s in the refrigerator. The door’s closed, the light’s out, the eggs are cooling, the butter’s getting hard, and the Jell-O’s jiggling.”

  46. Umm yeah. We need a healthy Farmar for the playoffs, but at this point, he can time. I think Fisher will need to get less minutes down the stretch too.

  47. Farmar should concentrate on getting back to 100%. There’s no need for him to hurry back.

    As far as the game goes, we’re set for another Sun sighting at this rate.

  48. I still think the defense is much better without Farmar.

  49. ariza got denieed

  50. -46

    or not

  51. Lakers = flat

  52. Well, there goes that possibility of a Sun sighting. Agree with 81 Witness, we came out flat.

  53. I also think our defence has been better with Farmar out of the lineup, that is why I think he can take as much time as he needs to recuperate. Not only that, but Fisher and Vujacic have lifted their offensive game with their increased minutes.

  54. Now they are finally showing some life again. 81 was right on the nose.

    By the way, if you throw the ally-oop over AK-47, you have really launched it.

  55. dang sasha’s 3 at the end of quarter buzzers arent working out

  56. Sasha PUJIT… ugh

  57. Ariza saved the fastbreak!

  58. lol who’s not paying the electricity bill? i thought the screensaver was kicking in. somebody must be asleep at the switch.

  59. josh powell was in??

  60. The Lakers need to remember they have big men. They got away from feeding it into the post.

    The Jazz played better D in the 3rd, but it looks like a reversion right now.

  61. could be another buzzer beater kind of game… i hope not

  62. How does Ariza do it?!

  63. Ariza in the clutch! Two straight steals.

  64. Ariza = game over

  65. good thing we have that trevor guy

  66. one more rebound and ariza gets a double double. his 1st laker dd?

  67. that was sick! pau pau pow!

  68. Come on Pau, don’t do em like that!

  69. Gasol thinks he is a point guard.

  70. Excellent game for the Lakers. Held the Jazz to 42 percent shooting and 2-14 beyond the arc. Only bad side was way to many offensive boards. But over all a good game and a good win 🙂

  71. I only saw the last few minutes of the game. What happened to Bynum’s rebounding? Was Okur pulling him away from the paint?

  72. Great game. Good to see us able to build and lead and also hold on to a tight game when we lose a lead. Of course losing a lead is never a good thing, but that’s what usually happens when you get up big in the first half. A couple notes:

    1.) The defense was excellent for about 40 minutes out of 48. During a stretch in the third and a stretch in the fourth there were a couple defensive lapses in a row, but Utah’s flex offense is built to make defenses look bad. Lots of cutters and off-ball screens tend to make the defense look a lot worse than it actually is.

    2.) One great play from Vlade in the limited amount of time he got. He made a strong cut to the basket as Gasol faced-up, and Pau hit Vlade right in the curl of his cut which led to an easy layup. Who says VladRad can’t run the triangle effectively?

    3.) As usual, a ton of “ooo-aahhh” plays from Ariza. However, I liked that most of his steals weren’t gambles and came from either a quick poke or as part of the team concept (covering a passing lane). I also liked Kobe’s defense on Williams. Williams was abusing Fish for a bit, then Kobe got on him and it seemed like that stopped.

    4.) It seems like everybody showed up today (with the exception of Sasha’s shot). Usually we have at least one player play poorly per game, but this game it seemed like everyone had high energy, which is good after a long layoff. Good signs for the tough schedule ahead.

    5.) Pau Gasol. Through the legs. Fake behind the back. No-look pass for the dunk. Wow.

    I think it was in the comments, but this game was an excellent example of how Luke sets up the offense for the first and third quarters, then Ariza comes in the second and fourth and puts the clamps on. Our offense was running on all cylinders in the first quarter, and I think a lot of credit should go to Luke for keeping the offense flowing. Then the 2nd unit came in and blew the Jazz away. Lots to like about this win.

  73. I thought Bynum looked uninspired tonight. He wasn’t really reacting well to situations and seemed like he was kind of on his own page on offense. When he was replaced by Odom or Pau things would straighten out again. I’ll chalk it up to a young man being distracted. Overall the Lakers looked like they could toy with a tough team and c ame up with some big energy plays down the stretch after their boredom let the Jazz back into it.

  74. i’m sure bynum has a lot of potential but he sucked tonight. 2 rebounds versus millsap’s 17. On the flipside millsap seems to be a good replacement for boozer. Great hustler, always in the right place at the right time on the boards, and tough. something that can’t be said for bynum tonight.

    gasol’s under the leg, no look pass to ariza for the dunk was AWWWWESOME. congrats to him on getting the 10,000 points. what a player!

  75. The Lakers are going to be a tough team to beat any night that Kobe and Gasol combine to go for 60. Add to that double digits from LO, Fish, and ARIZA(!) and we are almost impossible to beat. I know that the Jazz made their run and got it down to 5, but the Lakers continued to make the plays needed to win.

    Ultimately though, tonight was about Kobe and Gasol. Kobe was really making his jumper AND getting to the foul line. And when he’s making the jumper, his first step is that much more devestating and he can go to the basket easier off the catch. Or he can back cut when guys try to chase him hard and deny the ball entry, like he did when he got that dunk + one. Kobe was plain money tonight. Then Pau comes in and just continues to play a complete offensive game. People can talk all they want about being soft or how he’s finesse…and to that I say, so what? He’s getting the job done with the jumper, post moves, and face up dribble drives. He’s using his left hand, his right hand, he’s shooting jump hooks and turn around jumpers. He’s passing to cutters and he’s better with the double team. I mean, come on. Then he leads the break and goes all showtime on us? Add to that rebounding…I’ll take that kinda soft everytime.

    Anyways, eventhough the Jazz lost, I was still impressed with them overall. They could use a better backup point guard (and Williams could’ve used the help, he didn’t have a great night), but Brewer looks like he’s still getting better and Okur and Millsap had good games. Once they get Boozer back (if he comes back, I should say), I think they’ll be back to that level they were last year. This was far from their best night, but they made a good run and just didn’t have enough in the tank to go all 12 rounds.

  76. The team was clearly having fun:

    First quarter was truly terrific Laker team play on both ends.

    Kobe was a great mixture of scoring and teamwork.

    Luke facilitated.

    Gasol was having fun–got his 10,000 just as time was running out.

    Derek was magnficent on both ends.

    Sasha and Drew were struggling.

    Trevor was brilliant in the clutch–especially in the 4th.

    Odom, as usual, was a mixture of brilliance and bonehead–especially when the pressure was on in the 4th.

    Even with that final Utah 4th quarter push, I never thought that the game was in doubt.

  77. 79) Darius,

    Pau keeps getting better and better. (Or probably more accurately, his game is getting more and more integrated with the team/the triangle/the Kobe.)

  78. I didn’t even realize Kobe had 40 until after the game when I checked the box score. In 31 minutes, 23 shots. He LOVES playing this team.

  79. Also- at one point in the 4th Joel called a 10 point lead a “3 possession game.” Theoretically maybe, but… probably not.

  80. I think when the Jazz made their run Gasol and Bynum were playing Mario Kart DS. I know that at one point in the third Gasol got sidetracked for just like fifteen minutes when he went outside to call his mom because it was his one chance to talk to her without the distraction of possibly losing. Playing the Jazz always kindles memories of coaching a youth league back home. He smiles tenderly in the blue starry night. L.A.’s lead has dropped to single digits because Kobe has been guarding Utah’s starting five by himself for several minutes. Fish and some others had to track Ariza down; they found him in a men’s restroom on the main floor tying perforated toilet paper around his eyes and head to make a Ninja Turtle mask. Tension among Utah fans meanwhile was high. Utah kept almost doing things, but always a Laker would start up from his doze and knock the ball away. Did you see Radman making reindeer horns out of aluminum foil hotdog wrappers? Jackson alone was completely unreadable as he stared at a point in space humming “Corner of the Sky” and occasionally pushing his nose with one finger like a button.

  81. JD, if you start listening to Joel closely, it will just drive you crazy. For my own mental health, I have let my issues with points off turnovers go, it’s just not worth the stress.

  82. 79. And you’re right, healthy the Jazz are as good a team as they were last year. The problem is, that was not good enough then and almost certainly won’t be again this year.

    It’s on the front office, not Sloan, to get them over that hump.

  83. I know this may be a little bit redundant but…can we please see that Pau “Magic-esque” play again! Woooooooooo-eeeeeeeeee….that was sick!

  84. Dex 😀 Seems like an apt summary. Actually, did you see when they cut to PJ with about 2 minutes left after the Lakers dozing gave up 2, when he actually looked like he was stressing. Did he think there was a chance of losing? That came as news to me!

  85. 86 – I agree, to some extent, but I do think their front office has done a stellar job. When Millsap goes back to the bench, their bench will be strengthened, and then they’re strong at 4 of the 5 starting positions.
    Sloan is a legend, but I still put a tiny bit of the onus on him. For some reason he’s trained his team to be incredibly foul-happy, which the Jazz weren’t during their strong Finals runs against the Bulls. He can have them play physical without fouling. So as legendary as Sloan is, I think he should realize with a super-star oriented league, he cannot win with his players fouling Kobe or T-Mac as much as they do.

  86. Kurt- thanks for the advice- you’re probably right. If it ends up relieving me of a lot of psychic anguih, how much do I owe you for the therapy?

  87. With their win against Utah, the Lakers have improved their performance against quality opponents. They now have 12 wins (5 on the road) against teams with winning record.

    The Celtics have 7 home wins and 3 on the road against winning teams while the Cavs have only 5 home and 2 road wins against quality opponents.

    Without a doubt, the the Lakers squad is currently the best team in the NBA!

    Details on this on:

  88. Kobe’s been very efficient lately. He’s driving to the basket relentlessly, not just shooting jumpers. When he does, he’s unstoppable.

    Nice game, and good job by Fish on D-Will.

  89. 85

    Joel’s most overused words/phrases:

    “points off turnovers”


    “Kobe’s shot looks flat”


  90. In his post-game remarks, Phil said of Ariza, “He’s a cobra out there and he just strikes and takes that ball.”

    Think that might be a nickname that sticks? It would be amusing to have a Cobra and a Mamba on the same team.

  91. Joel,

    You forgot, “It’s anybody’s game now!…”

    I heard that at least 3-4 times in the 2nd half.

  92. 92) Wonda,
    Yeah – that got pretty irritating.

  93. Joel R,
    That is a great one – I too will support Cobra for Trevor.

  94. My personal favorite is Lakers up by 5, shooting the second of two free throws when Joel says “now, this one to make it a two possession game..”

    I am also conducting a study to observe the frequency with which Joel says “quick release” when Sasha is shooting the ball.

  95. I have to watch Laker games on League Pass, so I also have to suffer through the other teams announcers sometimes, and trust me, Joel isn’t that bad. He and Stu are fairly subjective. Some announcers are terrible. No one is worse than NOH’s color analyst.

    I’ve said this before, but you can judge a team’s fan base by the way the announcers call the game sometimes. Lakers announcers aren’t “selling” the team to listeners. There’s no need for complete homerism, whine about officiating, or bash other stars. I think they’re pretty good. Knicks have a good pair as well.

    Comcast’s Celtics coverage is full of homerism (Tommy Heinsohn or Donny Marshall) and Finals Game 6 stat lines. While they shoot free throws! Every commercial break features Game 6, or in-game trivia is Game 6 question, as if they need to remind new fans, that the Celtics are good, and just won it all.

  96. Trevor the cobra ariza!!!

  97. A cobra and a mamba on the same team huh… maybe they should sign “Stone Cold” Steve Austin to the team as well to complete the whole snake lineup… XD

  98. I don’t know if anyone else noticed, but tonight was the first time post-injury that I saw Bynum play without a knee brace. Maybe his lower activity rate was due to the psychological uncertainty that playing without the brace for the first time might bring. It may take several outings for him to get past the fear of not having a brace.

  99. Laker commentators are by far more entertaining than majority of their colleagues in the league. Yes they can be predictable and subjective, but when you are a Laker fan, you gotta enjoy the way they call the game, especially when Lakers are rolling and making highlight plays.

  100. I’m all for Cobra or, for occasional emphasis, Cobriza.

    99- Wondahap, I disagree on one point- Mike Rice is the worst announcer in the league. I swear I’ve heard him hoping for players to get injured before. It makes every loss in the Rose Garden 5 times as grating as otherwise.

  101. Drew does what he is supposed to do.Guard the middle.3 blocks no layups when he was in.Not as super as he was last year but doing as he is told.I think as the year goes on he will be allowed to expand his game.

  102. J.D,

    Not really familiar with him. But all the celtic fans were complaining about him on Celticblog.

  103. He’s the announcer for Portland. I think he’s the only announcer ever to receive a Technical Foul. He’s just terrible.

  104. magiclover,
    You really hit the jackpot. We all want Shaq to arrive this week and Phil wants Bynum to concentrate on defense and let his offense develop gradually. He already signed his contract so he should now do as the coach wants; not as the fans want. The all-star nomination may not arrive when he wants it, but the trophy might just be a good substitute.

  105. Ariza reminds me of Deion Sanders or Ed Reed. He’s got tremendous instincts and breaks on a ball in the air like a DB reading the Quarterback’s eyes.

  106. Have you noticed the Minnesota uniforms have “Wolves” written across the… back of the shorts? This is in addition to having the ugliest court in NBA history, now they’re drawing my eyes to a player’s backside. WHY!?!?

    “Juicy” shouldnt be written on shorts worn by 10 year-old girls, and nothing should be written there on pro athlete’s uniforms, either.

  107. 99

    I completely agree about Joel and Stu being more objective than the majority of their peers. Most other commentators are such blatant homers it’s sickening. NO, Boston, Portland, and Denver come to mind off the top of my head.

  108. When we reach the point we debate the announcers we hear on the NBA TV channel broadcasting for the other teams, we have reached a point where there is not much to argue about on our own team.

    Ain’t it great!

  109. I live out on the East Coast and never really listened to the Laker announcers until recently…they are pretty good, sometimes they will get on the lakers if they are playing bad, but they do give the other teams and other players credit, so they are pretty fair.

  110. Bryan,

    Yes, that court is ugly. Not only that, but the 2-tone probably reinforces the feelings of constriction the 3-pt line makes a player feel. If you play on the side courts without a 3 pt. line in a gym, then you’ll know I mean. I don’t 2-tone courts are good.


    I can understand a little homerism, but when it’s constant and incorrect whining about officiating, or belittling of other players on opposing teams, it’s bad for the game.

  111. Excellent observation, Bryan (#110), and I couldn’t agree more! Lots of questionable unis out there … I was watching the Hornets vs. the Nuggets after reading your comment and noticed for the first time that “NOLA” was stitched on the butts of the New Orleans players. Just plain wrong. Also highly suspect is the strip of yellow cloth embroidered with the “D” that stretches across the man-cleavage area of the Nuggets players.

  112. Sorry for repeat posting.

    Yeah. Check the blogs of some of those teams, and you’ll see constant complaining about officials.

  113. The T-Wolves have sunday alternate uniforms with ornamental embroidery, lace trimming, and victorian high collars.

  114. The celtics announcers and fans don’t seem to understand game 6 was only one win. Last year Boston had the best team, especially with the Lakers minus Drew and a healthy Ariza. Still they barely got out of the east and it took a Laker collapse in game 4 for them to cement the championship (there was no way that the Lakers team was going to win the last 2 in Boston).

    This is a new season and the Lakers have improved, but have the celtics? After their recent road trip it doesn’t look like it. I don’t think they get out of the east this year, much less repeat.

    If the Lakers stay healthy they have the best team. In addition, don’t be surprised if the Lakers add another player to increase their chances.

  115. I think there are some young quality teams in the East, but getting out of the West will still be more difficult than in the East.

    Of course Cleveland, Boston and Detroit are looking good and Orlando and Atlanta are right there, but if you compare them to battle-tested teams like Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio, Phoenix, Houston, Utah, and number of other teams with heavy veteran presence and huge playoff experience Western Conference is still a much tougher place to reside come playoff time.

    I still think that it will be Lakers – Boston in the finals and am really looking forward to it, but I get irritated when most analysts assume that it will be easier for the Lakers in the finals because Celtics/Cavs will be drained by their first couple of rounds in the East before they get to the finals.

    As it stands right now, Lakers, Cavaliers and Spurs are the only teams that have the team depth and talent off the bench to endure any possible injuries, long playoff series and foul trouble to their starters.

    I agree that Celtics are no longer as good as they were last year with Posey, PJ Brown and Sam Cassell forming a pretty good second unit for the Celts and giving starters some much needed help. However, the current Celtics are too short on their bench (Big Baby and Powe are substitute big men and stand shorter than 6’9”) and lack the second unit firepower (the only guy who can score is House and he is very inconsistent)

    With that said, home court throughout the playoffs will be crucial for any team come Spring, as all heavy contenders play remarkably much better at home than on the road

  116. Telly Savalas in the Dirty Dozen (Maggott) goes nuts in the movie and murders a woman. Jim Brown (Jefferson) has to put him down, but in the process of doing so, jeopardizes the mission and several of the Dirty Dozen die as a result.

    I could see KG, playing the role of Jim Brown, having to smack down Marbury.

    Guess what I’m trying to say, is if you have any hope for Marbury being successful on the Celtics, an analogy to the crazy guy who stabs a woman and fires on his own teammates, is probably not the one to use.

  117. 104 and 107

    I am a life-long Laker fan, but I moved to Portland 4 years ago. I am now a season ticket holder and enjoying the Blazers a great deal, rooting for them enthusiastically except when they play the Lakers. But the Blazers announcers make it very difficult. I hate them. They are horrible homers and do not understand the game. They whine and cry about the referees more than they talk about the game. Horrible, horrible, horrible. Make me embarrassed to be a Blazers fan (although the Lakers will always be my #1 team).

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